It is estimated that the average person will spend $751 for Christmas presentsthis year. Much more will be spent on holiday parties, travel and related expenses.

After spending that much or more, no one will want to or be able to afford a DUI arrest.

Driving impaired is wrong, illegal and costly. It is a criminal offense. When you are arrested, you are booked, fingerprinted, photographed, incarcerated and end up with a criminal record.

A DUI arrestis a$ 10,000 ride home! The signs on our highways that say "DUI You Can't AffordIt"are right on point:

Fines $500 10,000

Bail $150 2,500

Legal Fees $800 8,000

Towing $100 1,200

Drug/Alcohol Evaluation $ 250

Treatment$150 2,000

Monitoring Bracelet $ 400 a month

Ignition Interlock $1,200 to 2,000 a year

There are also varied costs for court fees, victim assistance, and victim comp.

Insurance can cost $1,500 per year for five to eight years(if you can get it).

There is also lost time from work due to court, injury etc. or total loss of job; and inability to get a job due to criminal arrest(hundreds of thousands of dollars).

The embarrassment to your family is, of course, priceless.

However,the carnage impaired drivers cause on Pennsylvania highwayscannot be valued, especially when someone is slaughtered by a drunken driver.

During 2010 Christmas and New Year's holidays, drunk drivers caused a combined 2,035 crashes and 19deaths!

The Pennsylvania DUI Association recommends these simple tips for a safe holiday season:

Ÿ Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;

Ÿ Serve non-alcoholic beverages recipes available at www.padui.org;

Ÿ Limit the amount of alcoholic drinks consumed;

Ÿ Serve plenty of food particularly protein such as meats, cheeses and nuts;

Ÿ Before drinking, designate a sober driver;

Ÿ Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;

Ÿ If you happen to see a drunken driver on the road, don't hesitate toreport it via 911;

Ÿ If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

George C. Geisler, Jr.

Drug Recognition Expert

Instructor, Harrisburg