Make the decision today not to drink or do drugs and drive over the New Year’s holiday.

It’s easy to avoid getting arrested and going to jail for driving under the influence. It’s easy to avoid the embarrassment of calling your family or friends to back your bail and get you out of jail.

It’s easy to save thousands of dollars in fines. It’s easy to have time for favorite pursuits or family activities just by staying out of jail.

The help of a friend who agrees to be a sober designated driver, a prebooked taxi reservation or the use of the free Mountain Rides bus service will enable people to enjoy a New Year’s party with no risk of injuring others. (COVID-19 is another matter, of course.)

When it comes to drunk or impaired driving, excuses don’t cut it with Blaine County’s prosecutors or judges. They’ve heard ‘em all. They don’t cut with current or future employers either.

Waiting to think about potential consequences until after the first cocktail, marijuana gummy or hit of any other drug is far too late. Inevitably, the conclusion will be, “I can handle it.”

Today’s websites house the collective memory of criminal violations in every state, county and city. It’s easy to see what happens after a DUI arrest.

First, the ugly booking photo. Then, going to jail until brought before a court. If found guilty, offenders could face more jail time.

In Blaine County, sentences of up to 30 days in jail and more than one year of supervised probation aren’t uncommon. Court fees and fines run thousands of dollars. Repeat offenders face prison.

Impaired driving is no better than holding a gun to someone’s head. An impaired driver threatens every other vehicle on the road, and sometimes innocent people are maimed or die.

The Idaho Transportation Department data shows that through Dec. 23 a total of 258 people had been killed in crashes this year, the most since 2006. Nationwide, the New Year’s holiday ranks as the second most deadly, second only to Memorial Day.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that driving+imbibing=lethal danger during this week’s high-traffic holiday.

Just because the Sun Valley area specializes in celebrations, it would be a mistake to believe that law enforcement officers won’t make DUI arrests in this mountain paradise or that courts will overlook them.

Don’t risk it. Plan now to party safely and stay out of the driver’s seat.

“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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