It’s enjoyable to ring in the New Year with gusto — but not if it means creating a potentially dangerous situation.

While revelers may place the emphasis on the celebration and fun for all, it’s no time for safety to take a back seat. The holiday season presents plenty of temptations, so it’s necessary to drive home the annual warning on the danger of overindulging in alcohol or using drugs and driving.

With that in mind, ’tis the season once again for the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” traffic enforcement campaign that ends on New Year’s Day.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and law enforcement agencies in the Sunflower State continue to play a key role in the important initiative designed to stop impaired driving during the holiday season.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of the more dangerous to be on the road, according to KDOT — an agency with safety as its top priority. While wintry weather often creates hazardous driving conditions, bad choices also lead to serious problems.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired driving claims more than 10,000 lives a year nationwide, and more than one third of all traffic crash fatalities involve a drunken driver.

In a state where about 400 people die on roadways every year, some 25 to 30% are killed because of impaired driving, according to KDOT officials.

Such tragic outcomes are preventable. Anyone drinking or using drugs should never get behind the wheel. It’s potentially life-saving to be proactive and arrange for a sober, designated driver, call or cab or use a ride-hailing service.

Also worthy of consideration is how the crime of driving under the influence can be attributed to something other than consumption of alcohol. The NHTSA, which tracks vehicle safety and driving behavior in an attempt to reduce vehicle crashes, has tracked the growing threat of drug-impaired driving that’s a problem nationwide due to the use of illegal and prescription drugs — marijuana, opioids, methamphetamine and other substances.

The negative trend led to a drug-impaired driving campaign of enforcement — one separate from the alcohol-impaired message — of “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI."

Alcohol and certain drugs slow drivers’ reaction times, coordination and judgment, while cocaine and meth make motorists more aggressive and reckless, the NHTSA has said. Operating a vehicle while drunk or high can lead to the serious and costly charge of driving under the influence.

The cost of imbibing and driving may result in jail time, expensive fines, suspended licenses, attorneys’ fees and higher insurance rates, as well as injuries or even worse outcomes. Without doubt, impaired drivers are at greater risk of losing their own lives or taking the lives of others in a crash.

Law enforcement authorities know firsthand the devastating consequences of bad decision-making. They also know many tragic outcomes can be prevented and stand ready to do their part in deterring and stopping dangerous acts.

Folks should heed their warnings, celebrate with care as 2019 comes to a close and stay safe on the road in the year ahead and beyond.