A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA: Reminding partygoers to celebrate New Year’s responsibly — do not drive or walk impaired

As Kentucky residents prepare to ring in the New Year, AAA is reminding partygoers to celebrate responsibly and not drive or walk impaired this New Year’s holiday. With 10,875 (NHTSA) people having died in drunk driving crashes in 2017 nationwide, New Year’s Day consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

“According to the Kentucky State Patrol, 157 persons were killed and 2,781 injured in alcohol-related collisions in Kentucky in 2017,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “With people celebrating the New Year and then getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking, January 1 is a particularly dangerous day on the roads. Even one death is far too many to be lost due to a completely preventable situation.”

Sobering Drunk Driving Facts

There were 5,350 preventable alcohol-related collisions in Kentucky in 2017, resulting in 2,781 injuries and 157 fatalities, according to the Kentucky State Patrol.

In 2017, 10,874 people were killed across the country in preventable, drunk driving crashes. On average, more than 10,000 people died each year from 2013 to 2017 in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors (NHTSA).

In 2017, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk (NHTSA).

During the month of December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver (NHTSA).

Responsible Behavior

AAA offers these safety tips for New Year’s Eve revelers:

If you plan to drink, don’t drive. If you plan to drive, don’t drink.

Designate a sober driver or arrange a ride in advance.

Choose a location to celebrate that offers an overnight stay – parties hosted either by accommodating friends or at hotels.

Use a ride option such as Uber of Lyft. Be sure to download the app to your phone before heading out to the party.

Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol, even if they’ve had just one drink.

Don’t hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.

If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911.

Impairment is not limited to alcohol. Drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription, may have side effects that cause impairment, putting the user and others at risk while driving.

Walking impaired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for more impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

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