New Year’s is among dead­li­est days on roads

MSP, MdTA Po­lice to step up en­force­ment

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

Re­spon­si­ble Be­hav­ior

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Mary­land State Po­lice and Mary­land Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity Po­lice will step up their en­force­ment of im­paired driv­ing laws dur­ing the hol­i­day week­end.

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