Editorial: Help make it a safe and happy New Year

Although Christmas is now a sweet memory, the 2013 holiday season remains in high gear and we’re just a few days away from ringing in the new year. Some bowl games and New Year’s Eve parties are still ahead. Families and friends will be getting together and good times will be had by all. That’s as it should be.

What we do not want to see happen is another fatal accident involving young adults who are impaired by alcohol and/or illegal drugs, as was the case in the September crash in Burbank that took the lives of five. As we reported earlier this month, the official toxicology report confirmed what had been rumored: The driver of the car, a 23-year-old, had a blood-alcohol level exceeding twice the legal limit for those who are behind the wheel of a vehicle. He also had marijuana in his system. The four passengers who perished with the driver in that fiery crash, ages 18 to 20, also had been drinking that night.

There has been an encouraging downward trend in the number of teens who consume alcohol in recent years. But as the awful September crash so grimly reminded us, there are still many who do, and who are enticed by the allure of trying illicit drugs. A celebratory season like the one we’re now in gives them ample opportunity to experiment, with or without parental approval.

We know the temptations and we also know that these relatively inexperienced consumers of booze and drugs are inexperienced drivers who have a false sense of invincibility. We’d urge all adults who love them not to look the other way, or condone intoxication. Party-goers should agree on designated drivers and take car keys away from friends who plan to imbibe.

Here’s to a safe new year.

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