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New Numbers Highlight Drunk Driving Concerns During Holidays

Driving DrunkWEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Spirits always seem to be flowing during this festive time of year, but too often, drinking turns to tragedy on the roads.

Tonight, one family who lost a loved one shares their anguish so that others may not have to.

The so called biggest drinking night of the year is upon us and it comes as new numbers from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers show that for the first time in six years, drunk driving deaths went up in 2012. They’re urging safety so everyone’s loved ones actually make it to their dinner table.

Nationwide, drunk driving kills someone every 51 minutes on average.  In March 2011, that someone was 28-year-old, David Laduzenski of West Springfield.

“You could be that person who is killed or you can be the person who has killed someone else and that whole is never filled,” David’s mother Ann Marie Laduzenski said.

David’s family isn’t alone. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2012…up 5% from 2011. 123 were in Massachusetts.

Crashes typically increase around the holidays that’s why MADD is re-energizing their campaign to raise awareness, from car ribbons to online pledges.

“This is a 100% preventable crime,” David DeIuliis with MADD told us, “I can guarantee you if you went and did a man on the street interview and you asked someone is it a good idea to drink and drive? They would say”no” but yet we still have once again 35% of all of our traffic fatalities are the result of impaired drivers.”

The man who killed David Laduzenski, Daniel Leary, is serving at least five years in state prison.

“I’m sure he didn’t go out that night intending to kill my son, but because of poor decisions on his part we are all in this pickle together,” David’s father Don Laduzenski said.

A tragic situation especially felt around the holidays.

“We miss him terribly. He was such a good kid. He brought a lot of life to the house. It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone, even after three years. It’s terrible,” says Don.

An emotion the Laduzenski’s wish on no other family but one they want everyone to think of before drinking and driving this holiday season.

The State Police say they have a maximum number of patrols on this holiday weekend.  There will also be a sobriety checkpoint here in Hampden County this weekend as well.

Head to www.MADD.org to join the fight against drunk driving.

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