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Our Opinion: A message received

December 27, 2001

After years of preaching, prodding and darn near begging, the message about drunken driving might finally be sinking in, at least here in the Imperial Valley.

Last weekend the Calexico police set up two driving-under-the-influence checkpoints in the city and after checking hundreds and hundreds of drivers, only arrested three for DUI.

This in a season in which many are more likely to imbibe. This on the last weekend before Christmas.

Calexico police were surprised by the lack of drunken drivers at the checkpoint. They were pleasantly surprised, actually.

There were more than three people under the influence in cars that passed through the checkpoint, according to police. They just weren't driving, thank goodness.

Sometimes it takes a long time for messages about people's own well-being to sink in. Look at the drive to get people to quit smoking for their own health. It took a long time before it started paying dividends in significant numbers of people giving up tobacco.

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The same may be true for drunken driving. There has been a public push to stop DUI for a couple decades now, and it finally seems that more people are willing to give up their keys if they have had too much to drink. There is no longer the stigma of "not being able to handle your liquor" that put many dangerous people behind the wheel to kill themselves and innocent others. Smart people who drink now let others drive after they have imbibed.

The concept of a designated driver also seems to be getting some more and more adherents. It seems only smart to take along one person who will not indulge when a group goes out partying.

Speaking of smart, we hope that our smart approach to drinking and driving continues for the next week or so. We have seen fewer accidents in the Imperial Valley involving drunken drivers this holiday season, it certainly seems. About that we are overjoyed. There will be more time off work for some, more holiday parties for many and New Year's celebrations for all. Traditionally, no time of the year has been more dangerous on the roads than this time.

We hope our good sense about drinking and driving continues through the New Year's holiday. What better way to kick off the new year than having all of our friends and neighbors in our Valley safe and healthy?

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