The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 31, 2013

Think before you drink

Arrange for ride; don’t drive impaired


JOHNSTOWN — New Year’s Eve is a celebratory time. We look back on the year that was and usher in the new one ahead. For many, that means cutting loose with a few alcoholic drinks.

It’s part of our culture and, if done responsibly, can be a joyous occasion.

Unfortunately, that joy turns into tragedy far too often. Too many people start the new year in the hospital – or worse yet, the morgue – because they got behind the wheel after hours of partying.

It doesn’t need to be that way. There are responsible options, such as having a designated driver or paying for a taxi cab or other driv-ing service, that could easily avoid such deadly consequences. For whatever reason, too many don’t make use of those opportunities and end up drinking and driving.

Now, revelers in Johnstown and nearby areas have another option.

Four taxi cabs will be available from 10 tonight to 3 a.m. Wednesday to shuttle people from local bars to their homes, free of charge.

The program, which is similar to one that has been successful in Blair County, is sponsored by state Sen. John Wozniak, state Rep. Frank Burns, Edgar Snyder & Associates law firm, Cambria County Crime­stoppers and Von’s United Beverage.

We applaud them for taking a stance against drunken driving in a way that can truly keep dangerous motorists off of the road.

There will be police officers across the region, of course, who are on the lookout for drunk drivers. That’s one way of keeping our region safer on what is traditionally a very dangerous night for travelers,

but the police can only react to those already on the road.

The threat of being caught is a deterrent, of course, and hopefully

that will be enough to dissuade some overzealous individuals from getting behind the wheel. But giving local celebrants another option, as this program is designed to do, can only help.

“The goal is to deter people from making a bad decision and drive impaired,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said. “There should be no excuse for not calling a cab. The goal is to keep our roads safe.”

We urge readers to drink responsibly. If you plan on drinking, please plan ahead and have a designated driver or arrange for other transportation. If you end up drinking more than you planned and don’t have another safe alternative, please take advantage of the program put together by the sponsors, the Richland Police Department and Greater Johnstown Yellow Cab and DC Cab Co.

Celebrate 2013 and greet 2014 in a safe and responsible manner.