It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season whizzed by in a flash and we’re poised on the edge of a new year. New Year’s is a time for reflection when we cast out all things old and ring in a new year with style and sparkle.
Sadly, there is a darker side to this festive holiday, due in part to the spike in drunk and impaired driving deaths and automobile accidents and injuries which occur on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We have some important safety tips for party goers and party hosts that may help you stay a bit safer this New Year’s.
Although the statistics vary slightly from year to year, drivers are far more likely to share the road with an impaired driver and be killed or injured in an automobile accident on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day than almost any other day of the year. In 2012, MADD reports that 70 people were killed in drunk driving automobile accidents, which represents over half of all traffic fatalities for that year alone.
So, whether you’re are hosting a New Year’s Eve party or attending one, here are a few safety tips and ideas to keep in mind.
Safety Tips for Ringing In the New Year
Ideas for Maine Party Hosts:
- When guests RSVP to your event, ask them whether they plan to drink alcohol. Confirm they will have a sober/designated driver (or another safe plan to get home).
- Serve food alongside alcoholic beverages to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Have plenty of water and other beverages available (especially non-alcoholic mocktails for the designated drivers) and don’t serve too many salty snacks (which tend to make guests thirsty and apt to drink more).
- Post the numbers of local taxi services prominently at your front door and have the numbers programmed into your own phone.
- 90 minutes before your party ends, stop serving alcohol.
- Do not rely on coffee to sober up a driver. Only time can make people sober.
- If you are serving an alcoholic punch, don’t use a carbonated base. Carbonation causes alcohol to enter the bloodstream faster.
- Don’t push drinks!
- NEVER serve alcohol to minors.
- Plan party games or other activities to keep guests busy and having fun. Alcohol does not need to be the sole focus of your event.
- A MADD survey showed that at least 73% of adults have witnessed a driver get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having had too much to drink; 19% of those adults did nothing to stop the impaired driver. If you suspect someone is impaired and is therefore not safe to drive, MADD suggests these alternatives: be as non-confrontational as possible, but try to take their keys; offer a ride home; call a taxi; enlist the help of others to convince the impaired guest to seek another safe way home; offer them a place to stay; if necessary, alert the authorities.
Tips for Party Goers:
- If you plan on drinking this New Year’s, designate a sober driver you can rely on. Leave your keys at home, plan to use public transportation, call a taxi, walk home, spend the night at a friend’s or ask for a ride home with a someone you know is sober. Above all, do not drink and drive and wear your seatbelt.
- Refuse to ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking. Your life and safety are worth too far too much – don’t turn those precious gifts over to a drunk driver.
- Program the number of a taxi service and friends you know plan to remain sober on your phone before you go out for the evening.
- Choose to stay home for the evening. If you drink, then you know for certain that you won’t be getting behind the wheel or be sharing the roadways with impaired drivers.
- Celebrate New Year’s without drinking. New Year’s and alcohol don’t have to go together.
- Ring in the New Year at a party or restaurant within walking distance of your home.
The Maine personal injury attorneys of Hardy, Wolf and Downing want each and every person across our beautiful state of Maine to celebrate a safe, happy and healthy New Year. So please, wear your seat belts, don’t drink and drive and don’t ride with an impaired driver.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident or have been otherwise injured by a drunken or impaired driver, please call our experienced Maine personal injury lawyers. We will handle your case with the utmost care and concern. Our personal injury attorneys have the skill, knowledge and personal injury expertise required to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
Stay safe, and have a happy 2014!