As Americans prepare for New Year’s celebrations, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers and passengers alike of the dangers on the roads this New Year’s Day, which consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2013, which although is a decline of 2.5% from the number of persons killed (10,336) in 2012, is still far too many lives lost from a completely preventable crime,” stated Martha Mitchell Meade, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. In Virginia, The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported 253 drunk driving deaths in 2013, making up 34% of traffic deaths in the Commonwealth, 253 deaths that were completely unnecessary.
To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering important safety advice to New Year’s Eve partygoers:
- Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
- Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
- Call a taxi.
- Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
- Download NHTSA’s new SaferRide app which will allow users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
- Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.