We’d like to think our online traffic school had at least something to do with it, but whatever the reason Californians are celebrating a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths attributed to DUI this year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last year saw 791 deaths due to driving while intoxicated, either as the driver or as a victim of someone else who was under the influence. This is significantly lower than the year before when almost 1000 deaths were caused by DUI.

Since 2005 the number of deaths due to DUI have been on the decline. That has something to do with the increased patrols during holiday drive times and lower tolerance for anyone caught driving under the influence. In fact, police established a record number of DUI checkpoints last year, forcing drivers to re-think their after-party plans, and concentrate on before party plans, like arranging a sober driver to take them home.

California traffic school is an option for drivers who are caught over the limit, as a way of reducing the points that get assessed on their license. But it won’t bring them or their passengers back from the dead. This holiday season the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are predicting that more 1,200 people will die on our nation’s highways as a result of drinking and driving. Another 25,000 will escape death from DUI but suffer a serious injury instead. Like being paralyzed, scarred, maimed or badly burned.

That’s no way to celebrate the New Year, folks. Instead, be a good defensive driver and plan ahead. Don’t ruin a perfectly good record of declining DUI arrests just so you don’t have to be bothered with a sober ride home. The entire state of California is counting on you!

Image: porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net