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As highway death statistics in Minnesota continue to stay down they continue to stay high for alcohol related crashes. The safest way to prevent this is to simply not drink and drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides a number of safety tips that should always be kept in mind:

1) Alcohol’s effects change as more drinks are consumed. After a few drinks, inhibitions are lessened, and driving skills and decision-making abilities become impaired — all before symptoms of intoxication become apparent.

2) Alcohol in the digestive system continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream, affecting judgment and coordination for hours after the last drink.

3) Caffeine is a stimulant that can help keep you awake, but it does nothing to remove the alcohol in your system.

4) If your celebration plans include alcohol, make sure you have a ride home with someone you are confident will not be drinking.

5) Women especially should always keep a hand on their drinks, to prevent anything from being slipped into them.

Duluth District Court Judge Shaun Florke provided a compelling argument in his Minneapolis Tribune editorial : Alcohol is the thief among us

We see the tragedy that results from cases when drunk drivers are on the road. Make sure you aren’t one of them. Here’s to a safer and happy 2011.

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