New Year’s Eve:
The Most Dangerous Night on U.S. Roads
It’s almost New Year’s Eve! As you’re planning your celebration, take into consideration that between 6 p.m. on December 31 and 6 a.m. on January 1 are the most dangerous hours of the year to drive or ride in a car on our nation’s roadways. If possible, avoid being on the road during that window of time.
On New Year’s Eve 2016, 33 people died in U.S. alcohol-related crashes. That was up from 2015, when there were 29 deaths on the same night. All of these deaths were 100% preventable if only those drivers had planned ahead and avoided driving after consuming alcohol.
U.S. Drunk Driving Statistics
The following are the 2016 U.S. statistics from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration:
- 10,497 deaths due to drunk or alcohol-impaired driving—that’s one person every 50 minutes—representing the second straight year of increased drunk driving deaths.
- More than 290,000 people were injured as a result of drunk driving accidents.
- 28% of motor vehicle accident deaths were caused by drunk driving.
- 1,233 children ages 14 and under were killed in alcohol-impaired car accidents.
The Division of Motor Vehicles reported Virginia’s 2016 statistics:
- A total of 7,482 crashes in the Commonwealth were related to alcohol, including 4,855 injuries and 262 fatalities.
- There were 19,925 DUI convictions.
- The average blood alcohol concentration of Virginia’s DUI convictions was 0.1452—nearly twice the legal threshold for drunk driving, which is .08.
Keeping the number of fatalities, accidents and injuries in mind, what steps will you take to avoid driving drunk this New Year’s Eve?
If you don’t have a plan to get home safely or to spend the night within walking distance of an event where you’ll be drinking, you are effectively planning to drive drunk this New Year’s Eve.
Plan Ahead to Prevent Drunk Driving
As the New Year’s holiday approaches, it’s critical to remind ourselves and others of the serious dangers of drunk driving. Law enforcement will be on patrol with sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols to catch drunk drivers before they can injure or kill themselves or others. Plan ahead to prevent drunk driving by staying sober or arranging alternative transportation or overnight accommodations to save yourself the cost, shame and embarrassment of being caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Remember:
- Never get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. Even one alcoholic beverage can impair his or her ability to drive safely.
- Make sure friends and family who celebrate with you have a safe ride home, or invite them to sleep on your couch or spare bed.
- Download the NHTSA’s SaferRide App, or call Uber, Lyft or a taxi to help you get home safely.
- Texting while driving can be up to six times as dangerous as driving while drunk. Encourage friends and family to put their phones out of sight until they arrive safely.
- If you wake up early on New Year’s Day after consuming too many adult beverages the night before, be aware that you could still be legally intoxicated and don’t drive until enough time has passed that you’re sober.
Our advice? Stay inside and sleep the day away on New Year’s Day: it’s one of the most dangerous days to drive and there’s lots of great football to watch on TV. We hope you will enjoy a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!
If you, a friend or loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, call the drunk driving accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers of Commonwealth Law Group. We’re the next generation of personal injury law, and we’ll fight to get the justice you deserve. We offer a free legal consultation to examine the details of your case. Call us at 804.999.9999. We’re here when you need us.