If you drink, don’t drive.

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follow site Santa Rosa Press Gazette

follow link June 5, 2017

Each year, over 10,000 lives are lost due to alcohol – related crashes. But thanks to public awareness campaigns like the NHTSA’s “drive sober or get pulled over”, these numbers are trending downward, and countless lives are being saved. If you drive drunk, are pulled over, and are subsequently convicted of a DUI, negative consequences will most definitely ensue.  You will be hit with fines, probation, and possibly even jail time. You will lose your license, and with that, more than likely your job.

There is no question that a DUI can produce disruptions in your life that can literally take years to undo. But what if I told you that being “pulled over” just might be the best case scenario of drunk driving.

Imagine for a second, it’s a night after a few drinks with friends, and you convince yourself you’re OK to drive. You get behind the wheel and head home, but you don’t make it. Instead, you cause an accident that kills someone. What goes through your mind in that moment? Are you ready to live with that nightmare on your conscience, knowing that a person is dead because of you? Are you mentally prepared to be removed from your world, and forced to spend the next 15 years of your life in prison? Or even worse, living a lifetime of regret, knowing that nothing can erase the devastation you’ve caused.

Trust me, these are all things I couldn’t have imagined either, but in 2009 I drove drunk and killed someone. In that moment, what once seemed unimaginable, became my reality. Today, I live my life in the shadow of a nightmare I created nearly 8 years ago. My life has and never will be the same again. There is nothing on this earth that can prepare you for what this feels like.

When you drink and drive, you’re putting at risk so much more than you would ever be willing to lose. Your life doesn’t have to end up like mine. If you have plans to drink, then make sure you plan ahead. It takes only a few minutes to find yourself a sober ride for the night. The best advice I could ever give anyone is this: You only get to live one life. Commit now, to making sure that you don’t waste it living with the heartache and regret that I do. It’s simple. If you drink, do whatever it takes to keep yourself from getting behind the wheel. Trust me, it’s one of the best decisions you will ever make.

Chad Mattson

Florida Department of Corrections