Happy New Year! On this last night of 2013, we all need to keep in mind how dangerous New Year’s Eve can be on California’s roads. As we discussed in our last post, the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day period is considered the fourth most dangerous night holiday for drivers, and drunk drivers were involved 42 percent of all fatal accidents in the period, safety experts estimate.
Yet injuries and fatalities caused by drunk drivers are already shockingly high in California. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ annual report, drunk or drugged drivers were responsible for a reported 25,910 traffic accidents with injuries and 1,798 fatalities in 2011 alone, the last year for which numbers were available.
Yet these tragedies are entirely preventable. Please be part of the prevention tonight.
The first thing you can do is plan ahead. If you’ll have even one drink, arrange for a designated, sober driver, a taxi, or a mass-transit ride. If you live in the city and can walk home, be sure to have a friend or family member walk with you.
Always buckle up, no matter what. Wearing a seatbelt is your best defense in a car accident.
If you see a friend about to drive intoxicated, help. Offer concrete options and help him or her carry out a safer plan.
If you can do so safely, call 911 if you notice a car on the road whose driver may be intoxicated.
Far too many Californians are injured or killed every year in drunk driving accidents, and the chance of a serious or fatal wreck is greater than usual on New Year’s Eve. Yet each and every one of those accidents was the result of a choice made by a single individual. Please make the choice to get a sober ride home, and urge your friends to do the same.
Source: Insurance Journal, “N.J. Division of Highway Traffic Safety Shares New Year’s Eve Safety Tips,” Dec. 30, 2013