According to NHTSA, with the exception of the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve is the most dangerous driving holiday. Here’s how to avoid becoming a statistic.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that an average of 36 fatalities occurred on the road each day in the United States between 2001 and 2005, as the result of an alcohol impaired driver. That number jumps to around 45 per day during the three-day period around Christmas those years, and then soars to 54 per day over New Year’s holiday.
For a lot of people, consuming alcohol is a part of New Year’s Eve. No judgement here, unless you plan on driving a car afterward.
We’ve got a few suggestions on how to celebrate without becoming a statistic:
Hire a Designated Driver
In 76 cities across the United States, Dryver offers designated driver services through a mobile app. You can hire drivers by the hour, order pickup services, or even have designated drivers pick up multiple guests from your event, all through the company’s smartphone app. The interesting part is that the driver actually uses your car, so there’s no having to go retrieve it after a night of revelry, and there’s no turf war between Uber drivers and cabbies.
Grab a Lyft
Forget whatever controversy exists between Uber, Lyft and the traditional cab companies. They’re a relatively inexpensive, reliable way to get yourself home. Download the app, input your credit card info, and you’re good to go. We’ve become devotees over the last few years.
Be a Designated Driver, Get Free Stuff
The California Office of Traffic Safety built the DDVIP app as a means for bars and restaurants to offer incentives to designated drivers year round, but especially on New Year’s Eve. As you head out to cart your drunk friends around, you can use the app to find bars and restaurants that offer designated drivers exclusive rewards, discounts and special non-alcoholic drinks. If it all goes haywire and you find yourself unable to resist the temptation, the app also allows you to hail an Uber, Lyft or Curb driver all from one place.
Call the Cops
Across the country, police departments have taken the bull by the horns to get people home safely. Perhaps the most aggressive initiative is the Evesham (NJ) Saving Lives Program, which launched in the fall of 2015 as shuttle service. Evesham PD has now partnered with Uber, and the program spread to nearby Voorhees. The goal of the program is to “eradicate DWI/DUI offenses by providing an alternative to safely get home.” It appears to be working. Chief Christopher Crew noted that “As a result of our organization’s unwavering commitment in DWI/DUI detection and apprehension efforts, our township has investigated zero alcohol related crash fatalities since 2009.”
BACTrack has an affordable, compact breathalyzer that measures your blood alcohol content with the help of your smartphone or Apple Watch. For as little as $49, the device pairs to your phone and you don’t have to do the inaccurate math on your weight and your alcohol consumption.
Take Public Transportation
Public transportation is still a viable option in most American cities, whether it’s by train, boat, subway or bus. Most major metropolises offer some kind of free or reduced late night service on public transportation during New Year’s Eve.
Get a Free Ride
Private businesses, public agencies, advocacy groups and even beer brewers in many areas across the country are joining forces to offer free rides on New Year’s Eve. In D.C., for example, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program has a SoberRide program for New Year’s Eve designed to get you home safely, and for free.
Call a Lawyer
Usually, calling an attorney is a reaction to getting yourself in trouble, but several personal injury firms are proactively trying to keep revelers out of trouble. Christiensen Law in Southfield, Michigan says its said the “Safe Ride Home” program will reimburses drivers up to $35 for their taxi or Uber ride.
In about 20 regions across the country, AAA offers some kind of assistance to get you home this New Year’s Eve. The services aren’t available everywhere, so understand what the limitations are before you head out.
Listen to Kamen Rider
This guy rides around Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, dressed as a wildly popular Japanese Superhero named Kamen Rider, warning people of the dangers of drunk driving. Not only is he attracting attention and supporting a worthy cause, he’s doing it in character. Whenever he stops, he strikes a pose right there on his bike in the middle of the road.