New Year’s Day consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

Flickr User stuartpilbrow

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9,878 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2011, which although is a decline of 2.5 percent from the number of persons killed (10,136) in 2010, is still far too many lives lost from a completely preventable crime,” stated Tracy Noble, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. In New Jersey, there were 193 drunk driving deaths in 2011, making up more than a third of traffic deaths in the State, an increase of 33 deaths and 21% compared to 2010.

To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering important safety advice to New Year’s Eve partygoers:

• Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.

• Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.

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

• Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired

• Use mass transit or call a taxi.

• Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.

• If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).

• Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

 

(AAA Mid-Atlantic contributed to this report.)