The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety says the Christmas and New Year holiday season is historically a deadly time on our nation’s roadways.

The Coalition is affiliated with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

Coalition executive chair Bill Whitfield says 52 people were killed and another 243 were seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes between December 10, 2016 and January 1, 2017.

He says eight of the fatalities and 20 of the serious injuries involved a substance-impaired driver.

“It’s a time of the year whenever we know families are gathering and students are coming home from college and time of celebration and joy but often times poor mistakes are made,” Whitfield says.

Whitfield tells Missourinet those mistakes include drinking and driving.

He says there is no excuse for driving impaired. Whitfield describes drinking and driving as “a lethal combination.”

“You know when you consume alcohol one of the first things to go is your judgment,” says Whitfield. “And we know that often times leads to the poor decision to then get behind the wheel and drive.”

Whitfield says all drivers must take responsibility for their actions.

“By that I mean you know we need to obey the posted speed limits. We need to make sure that we put our (cell) phones down,” Whitfield says.

He’s urging anyone who drinks during New Year holiday celebrations to use a taxi, Uber, Lyft or a designated driver.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol will have extra troopers on the road during the New Year’s holiday weekend.

Click here to listen to the full four-minute interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety executive chair Bill Whitfield, which was recorded on December 27, 2017: