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How to prevent drinking and driving tragedies during New Year’s festivities

drive sober
Image courtesy of the NHTSA

With studies showing that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day involve more alcohol consumption than any other time of year, the American Medical Response (AMR) is encouraging people to drink responsibly during holiday festivities.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, one person died every 52 minutes in a drunk-driving crash.

“Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs doesn’t just put you at risk,” Jim Pollard, spokesman for AMR in central Mississippi said. “When you get behind the wheel while under the influence, you put yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists in danger.”

AMR offers these tips for preventing tragedies resulting from driving under the influence:

  • Plan ahead: Before you indulge in adult libations, be sure to formulate a plan to get home safely. Designate a sober driver, call a cab or ride share service, or make plans to stay overnight.
  • Keep your guests safe: If hosting a gathering, make sure to arrange safe transportation home for anyone who may have overindulged. Also clear your porches and walkways of objects which an inebriated guest could trip over.
  • Report drunk drivers: If you suspect someone on the road is drunk, call 911 immediately.
  • Don’t let friends drive drunk: If one of your friends has had too much to drink, don’t let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help to find them a safe ride home.
  • Always wear your seatbelt: The best defense against injury in a crash with a drunk driver is a seatbelt.

Even a small amount of alcohol can affect one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. NHTSA reported almost 1,800 deaths from alcohol-related crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol level of .01 or .07 grams per deciliter., in 2019 – under the legal limit for BAC for the United States.

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