Please party safely tonight

Area law enforcement officers have a message for would-be partygoers as we close 2010 and welcome in 2011 tonight: Don't drink and drive. That warning is issued every year and we devote a couple of editorials to it every year at this time. That’s because anyone who has been drinking and takes the chance of getting behind the wheel is endangering lives — not just their own, but ours too.Call us stuffed shirts, if you must, but we simply find that unacceptable.Oh, yes, it should be noted that those who drink and get behind the wheel also run a better than usual chance of getting stopped and taken to jail because extra law officers will be on the street.That’s true for both the city and state, because both the Big Spring Police Department and the Department of Public Safety are taking advantage of grant money to pay overtime for peace officers to be on patrol.As Big Spring Police Chief Lonnie Smith has noted, there is always have a “zero tolerance” policy for both those who drink and drive and those who are not wearing seatbelts.Once again, we’ll be honest, we’re not asking that you don’t drink and drive so that you won’t wind up in jail. No, there’s a lot more to it than that. We all enjoy celebrations and the end of a year has always been an acceptable cause to celebrate. But it’s not reason enough to endanger lives, and that’s a point that can’t be driven home enough.If your driving is impaired, the chances of your having an accident are greater — that’s a fact. While you may be able to keep a vehicle “between the lines” so to speak, your ability to react to sudden changes is diminished. Your defensive driving skills simply aren’t what they should be.In other words, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the embarrassment; it’s not worth the fine and jail time; it’s not worth a chance having it on your record; it’s not worth the chance of endangering your life, the lives of those with you or the lives of other motorists or pedestrians.Please, please, please ... if you are planning on drinking and being out tonight, appoint a designated driver.Make sure you are around to celebrate again next year.