Each and every day, U.S. motorists drive drunk nearly 300,000 times. But around the major holidays, drunk driving frequency tends to increase. With so many parties to attend this season, it’s no surprise that some are inclined to get carried away with their alcohol consumption. But if you propose a toast to a happy and healthy holiday, make sure you don’t get behind the wheel while toasted.
In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. But the risk of being pulled over — or worse, involved in an alcohol-induced crash — is especially high during the holiday season. In 2016, 781 people across the U.S. were killed due to drunk driving just during the month of December. Statistics show that 44% of all traffic fatalities that occur between Christmas and New Year’s Day (which is only a week-long period) can be attributed to drunk driving. And according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), those drunk driving deaths could actually spike this year; because the holiday lands toward the beginning of the week, this could mean long weekends of carousal.
Anywhere from 71% to 73% of millennials drink liquor, beer, or wine, with plenty of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers choosing to indulge in a few too many. But if you plan to drink at all this holiday season, you need to make sure you have a way to get home safely. Local police departments will increase their presence on the roads in the coming weeks, so you should do everything you can to make sure there’s not even a slight possibility you’ll get pulled over.
Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft provide incredibly easy (and typically quite affordable) ways to secure a safe route home. MADD has even partnered with Uber this holiday season in an attempt to drastically decrease the number of drunk drivers out on the road. Of course, you could always call a taxi — or decide to ride in style to your celebration. Limousine drivers make approximately 105 trips every week, and these luxury vehicles are a great way to impress your friends and make sure you don’t have to miss any of the merriment because you have to play designated driver.
Other ways to prevent drunk driving this holiday include planning ahead, taking away the keys of someone who’s about to drink and drive, and finding a way to safely contact law enforcement if you observe a possible drunk driver out on the roads. When driving, even when sober, it’s important to stay alert and not take any unnecessary risks. With these tips in mind, you and your loved ones have a much better chance of ringing in the new year.