Each year, nearly 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. The risk of sharing the road with a drunk driver is even higher on holidays like New Year’s, because of parties and get-togethers. In fact, New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day of the year for drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.
Let’s work together to make this holiday, and every day, safe for everyone traveling. Please use these tips to plan a safe New Year’s celebration for everyone:
- Designate a sober driver to make sure you—and everyone with you—arrive home safely this holiday season.
- Save the number of a local cab service in your phone prior to heading out.
- Consider hiring a shuttle or limousine service to transport you and your friends to and from your event.
- Arrange a hotel stay for you and your friends on the evening of the event so no one drives home impaired.
Planning a party?
- Plan activities like party games or door prizes. Planned activities engage people, make for less active consumption of alcohol, and ensure that your friends remember the great event long after the last piece of confetti has settled.
- As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the sober designated driver and/or has a plan to get home.
- Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages or “mocktails” for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.
- If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a non-carbonated base, like fruit juice. Alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream faster with a carbonated base.
- Be prepared by having the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride. Also, be ready with some clean linens so you can turn your sofa into a bed for guests who need to sleep it off.
Wishing you a safe and happy New Year’s!
Watch Dateline NBC ‘Holiday Survival’ special about what to do when someone tries to drive after they've been drinking:
The best way to prevent someone from driving drunk is to make a plan for a sober designated driver, and make sure everyone agrees to it ahead of time. If you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, here are some tips on how to stop them:
- Be as non-confrontational as possible.
- Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination — a cab, a sober driver, public transportation.
- Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired — talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.
- Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.
- Suggest that they sleep over.
- Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support — it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people than one.
- If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you hold this leverage.
- If all else fails, call law enforcement. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.
Early morning on New Year’s Day in 2010, 21-year-old Elaina Luquis-Ortiz received a call from a friend who got a flat tire on the interstate. Elaina was in the process of selling the car to her friend, and since the insurance policy was still in her name, she thought it would be best if she met up with them to see if she could help.
The three were sitting in Elaina’s car on the shoulder of the freeway, waiting for the tow truck to arrive, when a drunk driver with a BAC more than three times the legal limit crashed into them. Elaina died at the scene and her two friends were transported to the hospital with major injuries.
Elaina was six months pregnant with her first child, Romeo. He also did not survive.
Elaina was so excited to become a mom. She had proudly posted ultrasound photos of Romeo on her MySpace page. But instead of a baby shower, Elaina’s family had to plan her funeral.
This holiday season, we remember Elaina, Romeo, and the thousands of others who are killed and injured every year by this 100% preventable crime.
We have our sites set high for 2013, and plan to make great progress with the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, but we need your help to succeed. You can help save lives and serve victims in 2013 with your holiday gift to MADD today.
Data recently released by Monitoring the Future, one of the leading surveys on teen drug use, shows good news in the fight against underage drinking. For the first time since the survey began in 1991, fewer than 30% of 8th graders had drunk underage. Since we launched the Power of Parents® program in 2010, drinking among 8th graders has declined by 19% and drinking among 10th graders has declined by seven percent.
The news is not all good, however. Drinking among 12th graders went up in the 2012 survey. More than half of all high school seniors (54%) have been drunk and over half of those have been drunk in the past month. In addition, almost one out of every four 12th graders reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.
This shows the need to have not just one talk with your children about alcohol, but rather to have an ongoing conversation. As your child grows, they will know more, have different questions and face more difficult pressures. MADD has research based tools available that can help get these lifesaving conversations started. Use our Power of Parents handbook to talk with you teens about not drinking alcohol until they are 21 and never getting in the car with someone who has been drinking, or visit the parent section of our website to get more tips and expert resources for talking with your kids about alcohol.