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This is one S.A.N.T.A. that you do not want to visit

The holidays are a special time of year for families and friends to get together, to eat, drink and be merry. Sometimes, they become too merry. When the primary holiday spirit comes from a bottle and is measured in proof, there is always the danger that someone will get behind the wheel and this holiday season will be the driver's last.

Connecticut State Police have attempted to help prevent this behavior with their Operation S.A.N.T.A., (Stop Another Needless Tragic Accident). This year, from December 19 through Christmas Day, they had enhanced patrols out to stop drunk driving accidents, seatbelt violations, aggressive and distracted driving. They also used sobriety roadblocks to check for intoxicated drivers.

The program runs through New Year's Eve, but by Christmas had already resulted in 14 DUI arrests. There were 541 arrests for "hazardous moving violations," which included distracted driving violations, like texting while driving and cell phone use.

The danger that lurks behind all the tinsel and holiday parties is the very real risk of being injured or killed in a car accident, often caused by alcohol. One fatal accident has been registered in Connecticut during the Christmas period and 33 accidents involved injuries.

Fatal accidents forever mar the family of those who die, and serious injuries can have almost as devastating an effect. A person may lose limbs, eyesight and other senses; they can be left with chronic pain, disabled and never able to return to their job. In addition to the physical losses, they may suffer traumatic brain injuries that linger long after the physical wounds heal.

Never drive drunk and if you observe motorists who appear impaired, notify the police. By stopping drunk drivers, you may save both the driver's life and innocent motorists in their path.

wtnh.com, "Connecticut State Police release statistics from Operation SANTA," Jesse Grosselin, December 26, 2014

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