New Year’s is among deadliest days on roads
MSP, MdTA Police to step up enforcement
EASTON — As Marylanders prepare for New Year’s celebrations, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers and passengers of the dangers on the roads this New Year’s Day, which consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcoholrelated traffic fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2016, which is an average of one alcohol-impaireddriving fatality every 50 minutes. Every year, more than 160 lives are lost on Maryland roads in crashes involving impaired drivers, and thousands more are injured, according to the Highway Safety Administration.
December is a particularly dangerous month for impaired driver crashes across the country, according to NHTSA. During the past five years, an average of 300 people died in drunk-driving crashes nationwide during the Christmas through New Year’s holiday period. In December 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving crashes.
“With people celebrating the New Year and then getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking, Jan. 1 is a particularly dangerous day on the roads,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, manager of public and government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Even one death is far too many to be lost from a completely preventable crime.”
To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering 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 have 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.
• Use mass transit, Uber, Lyft or call a taxi. Put numbers for local cab/ridesharing companies in your phone before heading out for the evening.
• Be a responsible host by 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).
• Remember: Prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
Visit PreventDUI.AAA. com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.
Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police will step up their enforcement of impaired driving laws during the holiday weekend.