AAA: New Year’s Day among deadliest days on nation’s roads

FOX19 NOW/file
FOX19 NOW/file
Updated: Dec. 31, 2019 at 5:10 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As we gear up for New Year’s celebrations Tuesday night, AAA is reminding drivers and passengers alike of the dangers on the roads.

They say New Year’s Day consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2018,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman.

“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.”

In 2018, 10,511 people were killed in preventable, drunk driving crashes. In fact, on average, more than 10,000 people die each year from drunk-driving crashes, according to AAA.

“To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. (NHTSA),” AAA said in a news release. “During the Christmas and New Year’s periods in 2018, there were 285 drunk driving-related fatalities nationally (NHTSA).”

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

Don’t Drive Intoxicated!

  • 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.
  • Put numbers for local cab/ridesharing 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.

Don’t Drive Intexticated!

Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It is the third leading driver-related cause of crash fatalities, trailing only speeding and driving under the influence, AAA said.

These numbers likely underestimate the problem as most drivers do not admit to distracted cell phone use after a crash.

Earlier this year, AAA launched a new, multi-year initiative to prevent deaths and injuries as a result of cell phone use by drivers. “Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated” is the theme of AAA’s traffic safety education campaign created to make distracted driving socially unacceptable.

This campaign is designed to clearly communicate that the consequences of using a smartphone while driving are the same as drinking and driving, according to AAA.

The campaign targets drivers who would never consider drinking a beer behind the wheel, and yet, regularly engage with mobile devices that dangerously take their eyes, hands and minds off the road.

Drivers are encouraged to kick-off the New Year with a new attitude about distracted driving and take AAA’s Don’t Drive Intexticated pledge. Take the pledge on-line

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