New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the end of the old and the beginning of the new. Taking the time before the holidays to plan fun but safe New Year’s Eve festivities will be well worth it in the end.
Holiday Driving Fatalities
Annual statistics regularly show that impaired driving fatalities surge on all major holidays, including Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. Time off work, increased travel, and increased consumption of alcohol all contribute to these tragic deaths.
The days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day are no exception. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving fatalities increase by 25 percent over the Christmas holidays and by 50 percent for the New Year’s holiday period. On average for the period studied, there were 36 alcohol-related traffic deaths per day throughout the year, but 45 on each of the days surrounding Christmas and 54 on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Special Risks on New Year’s Eve
In addition to an increase in the number of cars on the road on New Year’s Eve and the early hours of New Year’s Day, there's an increase in driver distraction and driver impairment. As revelers hop from one party to another, or from a restaurant to a party or bar, they tend to ignore their own impairment and feel pressure to keep the party going. Even if you're a designated driver and completely sober, your safety is at risk due to others on the road whose actions you cannot control.
Tips for Planning a Safe New Year’s Eve Celebration
For people of all ages, New Year’s Eve plans are often last-minute arrangements. This uncertainty can lead to reckless decisions that end in disaster. This year, make your first New Year’s resolution to plan a safe celebration for you and your friends.
Consider the following tips:
- Arrange for a sober driver. If you're planning to hit several locations in town, designate a sober driver for the evening and make sure this generous friend is compensated for his sacrifice. Paying for gas and parking are the least the partying passengers can do, but consider also paying for the driver’s food and non-alcoholic drinks for the night.
- Use a rideshare service. Download apps and create accounts for several rideshare services before you head out. Remember to request a ride well before you plan to leave a location, as these services are sure to be busy on New Year’s Eve.
- Attend a hotel party with friends. There is a range of options available in almost every city for a dinner, dancing, and hotel room package for New Year’s Eve. Book well in advance with a group of friends. These parties are ideal because you can stay at a single location and have all the fun you want. And best of all, your hotel room awaits when the party is over.
- Host a party, but be responsible. You can certainly assure your own safety by staying home and having friends over, but you have to think about providing a safe experience for your guests. Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages; collect keys and make sure guests are sober before they leave; and prepare a guest room or sofa for anyone who's too drunk to drive home. You should also be prepared to call a taxi or rideshare service to get your guests home safely.
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