New Years Eve is one of the most popular nights in America to imbibe alcoholic beverages. But, before we hit the bubbly then hit the road, there are a few things to consider.
Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.
Thankfully, there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.
How big is the problem?
• This year, 10,324 people will die in drunk-driving crashes - one every 51 minutes, the Kansas Highway Patrol reports. In 2012, there were 10,322 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. That’s one third of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
• Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.
Regardless of the age, at all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash increases. But, it is greater for young people than for older people.
Whenever social plans involve alcohol, one should make plans so they don’t have to drive after drinking. For example:
• Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.
• Don’t let friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.
• If you one has been drinking, they should get a ride home or call a taxi.
• If one is hosting a party where alcohol will be served, they should remind guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
Remember, it is supposed to be a celebration. We don’t need alcohol to have a good time, but if it is involved, remember the goal is to make it home alive and make sure we don’t cause harm to anyone else.