AAA: Celebrate safely to see the New Year

DAYTON — While ringing in the new year with a champagne toast may be a tradition for some, drivers should treat it like any other day and have a designated driver and a plan to get home safely. With the holiday falling on the weekend, people may be tempted to indulge more, but safety should never take a holiday.

Data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety shows that in 2016 there were 12,243 alcohol-related crashes, causing 5,076 injuries and 346 deaths on Ohio roads. During the four-day NYE holiday in 2016, there were 2,214 crashes, resulting in 763 injuries and 11 deaths, nearly half (5) were alcohol-related.

AAA has identified impaired driving as one of their top safety concerns, according to AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Regardless of the cause for impairment – party-goers celebrating with alcohol or drugs, or even drivers using prescription medications New Year’s Eve provides an opportunity to call attention to these year-round important safety practices.”

AAA offers these safety tips for NYE revelers:

• If you plan to drink, don’t drive. If you plan to drive, don’t drink.

• Designate a sober driver or arrange a ride in advance.

• Choose a location to celebrate that offers an overnight night — parties hosted by friends or at hotels.

• Use a ride option such as Uber of Lyft — be sure an download the app to your phone ahead of time.

• Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.

• Don’t hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.

• If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911.

• Impairment is not limited to alcohol. Drugs, even over-the-counter or prescription, may have side effects that cause impairment and could put yourself and others at risk while driving.

• Walking impaired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.