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Passengers' poor judgment is preventable

In Missouri, warm weather holidays can bring wonderful celebrations that include socializing, great food and great drinks. Be it Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day or any other celebratory holiday, America loves to celebrate with alcohol.

Sometimes, however, celebratory inclinations get the better of a person, and he or she drinks too much and hops behind the wheel. Just as worrisome is that often, a non-driving person will also jump into the vehicle of that drunk driver.

Recent holiday tragedy

All too often, a young person, barely into his or her adulthood, is the person who drank alcohol and used poor judgment by deciding to drive. More tragedies can follow if that young adult invited others to ride in his or her car.

Independence Day saw a fatal accident for a young person who decided to accept the invite to ride as a passenger in the vehicle of a young man who had been drinking. Another passenger who also made the decision to get in the car with a drunk driver suffered serious injury. In this incident, the driver later blew a 0.167 percent blood alcohol concentration, about double the legal limit in Missouri. Authorities have charged him with felony DWI and related charges.

Passengers have choices

The losses that result from too much celebration combined with the bad judgment of driving are endless. As in the recent Fourth of July accident, regrettable decisions of all three young people have altered their lives forever, as well as those of countless loved ones. Young adults may not always feel the ability to timely prevent a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel, although they can take preventive steps in that regard. But, a person can make the decision not to add himself or herself to the passenger list of that vehicle.

Had two young adults not used bad judgment in becoming passengers of the drunk driver, one would be alive today and the other unscathed. Would-be passengers have choices in keeping themselves safer when enjoying holidays and other celebrations. Passengers can just say no to getting in the car.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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