Wary of impaired drivers
Despite being the “ most wonderful time of the year,” statistics show that the festive period is the deadliest on America’s roads. In 2018, in one week alone, there were 285 deaths due to drunk driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). On New Year’s Day, drunk driving-related deaths skyrocket to 129 percent above the baseline average, making it the most dangerous holiday of the year in terms of intoxicated road use.
DesertHopeTreatment.com, a leading provider of addiction treatment, polled 3,510 Americans revealing that two-thirds of Californians (66 percent) will choose to stay over with family at Christmas in order to avoid drunk drivers on roads and highways this year—above the national average of 59 percent.
Safe, sober driving is one of the greatest “gifts” one can give this holiday season. Nearly two in three (64 percent) respondents said they would even report a friend or family member if they decided to drive home drunk.
Considering so many families (including young children) travel by car during this time, 67 percent of people also believe that penalties for impaired driving should be harsher over the festive period. In fact, nearly three-quarters of people believe there should be a completely zero tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving during the holiday season – that is, no level of alcohol should be allowed before driving.
A significant majority (82 percent) of people also said they drive more cautiously and defensively during the holiday season given the unfortunately high number of drunk drivers on the road.
When respondents were asked about the holiday during which they’d likely avoid driving, the results reflected the following: more than three-quarters (78 percent) of people said they’d most likely avoid the roads on New Year’s Eve and more than 1 in 10 (11 percent) would avoid driving on New Year’s Day.
In fact, the American Automobile Association says that New Year’s Day is a particularly dangerous day on the roads, consistently ranking among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Christmas Eve (6 percent), Thanksgiving (3 percent) and Christmas Day (2 percent) rounded out the top five holidays.