AAA: New Year’s Day among deadliest for drivers

As Philadelphia-area residents prepare for New Year’s celebrations, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers and passengers alike of the dangers on the roads this New Year’s Day, which consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2015, which is an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 51 minutes,” says Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “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 from a completely preventable crime.”

Sobering Drunk Driving Facts

  • During the New Year’s holiday period (6 p.m. December 31, 2014 – 5:59 a.m. January 5, 2015) the nation lost 31 lives per day in drunk driving crashes—a total of 139 deaths over 4.5 days. (NHTSA)
  • In 2015, there were 10,265 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. This totaled 29 per­cent of all traffic fatalities for the year. (NHTSA)
  • Of the traffic fatalities among children 14 and younger in 2015, 16 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. (NHTSA)
  • In 2015, the 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage (28%) of drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes com­pared to other age groups. (NHTSA)
  • Pennsylvania State Police responded to 404 crashes (52 of which were alcohol related), 2 fatalities and 309 DUI arrests between December 31, 2015 and January 2, 2016.

“AAA Mid-Atlantic urges travelers to be cautious about their safety and the safety of everyone sharing the roadways,” said Tidwell. “Ninety-seven percent of licensed drivers consider it unacceptable to drive when they may have had too much to drink, yet there is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death every 51 minutes.”

Responsible Behavior

To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering important safety advice to New Year’s Eve partygoers:

  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
  • Use mass transit or call a taxi. Put numbers for local cab companies in your phone before heading out for the evening.
  • Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

Visit for 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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