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Why is drunk driving such a problem over the holidays?

It probably would not take statistics to demonstrate to Florida residents that drunk driving is rather common around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Many people have probably heard police departments in the greater Tampa area warn residents that they will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, and many others may just plan to travel less because of safety concerns.

A good question, though, is exactly why drunk driving is so common during the holidays.

According to at least one expert, the big reason that drunk driving is more common during this time of year is that alcohol is served more freely at various parties and celebrations. With that comes more social acceptance of drinking, even when the drinking is to excess. Some may even feel pressured to drink.

This phenomenon raises two related issues. For those who have chronic drinking problems, it gives them an excuse to drink more without notice, or, at least, not until after a person has caused injuries in a drunk driving accident.

On the flip side, many people who do not usually drink may indulge during the holidays. These people have relatively low alcohol tolerance, which means that even if their blood alcohol concentration is well below the legal limit, they may still exhibit signs of intoxication, including dangerous driving behavior.

Adding to this mix is that people are already stressed out, distracted and in a hurry while traveling. Moreover, although uncommon in Florida, winter weather is always a possibility elsewhere in the nation.

In any event, people in the area need to be mindful of how much they are drinking. If they have had alcohol to the point where they can no longer operate a vehicle safely, they must not drive. These days, there is really no excuse for getting behind the wheel while drunk, and those who do so and cause accidents can and should be held accountable.

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