Drunk Driving Kills

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Celebrating on New Year’s Eve is a ball, but overdoing it can have dangerous consequences.

by Hailey Nirenberg, Staff Writer

New Year’s Eve: what comes to mind? It could be spending time with family and friends, listening to music, or watching the ball drop live from New York City as the clock strikes midnight.

Yet who considers the amount of accidents caused every New Year’s Eve because of the amount of drunk drivers on the road?

Drinking a glass of champagne with family and friends on New Year’s Eve is a common tradition for those of legal age, but the consequences that come with this celebratory drink may not be worth it.

According to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, half of the fatal crashes on New Year’s Day involve a drunk driver. New Year’s Day is also one of the most dangerous days for pedestrians, as there are an average of 22 deaths per year on this day.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 42% of traffic deaths during the holidays from 2002-2008 were due to drunk driving.

The AAA confirms that on December 31, 2011 and January 1st, 2012, 122 motorists were killed nationwide, and most involved a drunk driver.

Furthermore, according to NHTSA, between 2001-2005, an average of 36 fatalities occurred per day in the U.S. as a result of a drunk driver. During Christmas, that number escalated to 45 per day, and to 54 per day over New Year’s.

Another holiday that has a high number of accidents involving drunk drivers is Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving is a day to spend time with family, catching up with loved ones may lead to having a few more drinks then planned.

A different report from the NHTSA shows that between 1998 and 2008 there was an average of 572 deaths annually during the Thanksgiving holiday. 36% of those deaths involved a driver under the influence, which averages about 51 deaths per day.

When asked why they think New Year’s involves the most alcohol related deaths, Glen Rock High School Sophomore Maddy Doubet had the answer: “No one wants to walk outside in the middle of winter, so everyone drives. Lots of people have parties where drinking is involved, and they get into the car to drive home under the influence, and then they crash.”