New Years Eve used to be a time spent with family, feasting and celebrating a new year with a toast at midnight. Unfortunately, it seems to have become more of a "drinking holiday" for a lot of people. I read headlines that say police are gearing up for emphasis patrols to try to get drunk drivers off the roads.
I was curious as to why this holiday has become so alcohol saturated. I did a little research. It seems that the pagans liked to celebrate the old year's passing with feasts, sacrifices and abundant toasts to a variety of gods and deceased family members. If you had a big family, that could be a lot of toasts!
Fortunately for them, they weren't driving high-powered vehicles at high rates of speed. If they fell while walking, they might get a nice bruise or even a broken bone or two, but it wasn't likely that they would be reduced to bits.
Every year dozens of people die in alcohol related deaths on our highways. These numbers increase on New Years Eve. In one study, "90 people had died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in the 12-hour span between 6:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 5:59 a.m. the next morning. Four weeks later, on the same night of the week, the death toll dropped dramatically to 20". In my opinion, 20 is still too many.
Every year, families have to start a new year with the death of a loved one - whether they are the person who had been drinking, or a victim of a person who had been drinking. I have to honestly say that New Years Eve terrifies me as a parent of three young people.
I am taking this opportunity to ask all of you out there to please not drink and drive. One small toast at midnight should be sufficient to ring in a new year. Let's start the new year with health and vitality, not a hangover. And let's start it with life, not death or sorrow.