Santa Monica police officers want to remind drivers that if they plan on drinking alcohol this holiday season they better call a cab or find a designated driver to take them home.

If not, they could find themselves in jail, or worse, in the morgue.

The Santa Monica Police Department sent a community e-mail over the weekend to remind people that drunk driving is one of the most frequently committed crimes in the U.S., killing someone approximately every 48 minutes.

In 2009, nearly 11,000 people died in highway crashes involving a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, representing nearly 32 percent of all traffic fatalities, police said in the e-mail.

“Research shows that far too many people justify that they can drive after drinking because they feel ‘just buzzed,’” the e-mail stated. “The buzzed driver is one who drinks and drives, but does not consider himself or herself a hazard on the roadway or a drunk driver because ‘only a few’ drinks are consumed.”

To avoid drunk driving, police recommend planning ahead by arranging a ride before drinking. Try serving non-alcoholic drinks if you plan on hosting a party so that guests have options. Try cutting back on the amount of alcohol used in mixed drinks and have plenty of food available.

Those who see a dangerous driver should call 911, police said.

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