AAA Mid-Atlantic Reminds Motorists Not To Drink & Drive Following New Year’s Parties

The auto club says December is a dangerous month when it comes to vehicle crashes.


Towson, Md (KM). It soon will be time to  ring in the new year, and that means a lot of parties where alcohol is used to toast in 2019. AAA Mid-Atlantic reminds people to stay away from alcoholic beverages if they plan to drive home that night.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 10,900 people died in drunk driving-related crashes last year in 2017, which accounts for one alcohol-impaired driving fatality every 48-minutes,” says AAA spokeswoman Ragina Cooper Averella. She says over the past five years, an average of 300 people died nationwide during the Christmas through New Year’s Holiday period as a result of drunk driving crashes. . “For the entire month of December last year {2017}, 885 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver,” she continues.

In Maryland, Averella says December has the highest number of drunk driving crashes, 221 during the December of 2017. That  statistics come from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.

With these sobering statistics, Averella says it’s important for those attending New Year’s Eve parties to not get behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink. She notes that even one drink could affect your ability to operate a car. “Only time will make you sober. So make sure you don’t get  behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking at all just to be on the safe side. If you’ve had a drink at all, it’s best not to drive,” says Averella.

AAA says if you plan to doing a lot of drinking, make sure you designate someone who will stay sober to  drive you home. There’s also calling a taxi, or using Lyft or Uber.

Those who are hosting a party where alcohol is served are not off the hook if one of their guests is involved in a drunk driving crash. “You certainly can be held liable if someone you served alcohol to ends up in an impaired driving crash,” says Averella. “That’s not only for bars and restaurants. That applies to private citizens as well. So that’s something to keep in mind.”

AAA has the ABC’s for party hosts. A is for Alcohol Awareness,  which means ask you guests to include a designated driver for the  night, and have a car  key collection when your guests arrive. Avoid open bars and close the bar 90-minutes before the party is over.

B is for Buffet, meaning serving high protein foods such as meats and cheeses. They stay in your stomach longer and slow down the intoxication. Starchy foods are also a good choice. Salty foods make people thirsty and speed up intoxication. AAA also recommends hosts also serve non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soft drinks, juice and punch.

C is for Carpool. That means keep an eye on your guests’ behavior, and make sure they have a safe means to get home, such as a sober driver, a taxi, ride-share services, or invite them to spend the night until they are sober enough to drive.

AAA says if you’re attending a party, do not hesitate to take  the keys from  friends or family members who may be impaired. If you encounter a drunk driver while heading home, keep a safe distance, and have a passenger call 911.

Law enforcement agencies in Maryland will be stepping up patrols to keep an eye out for impaired drivers during the New Year’s Day holiday period.



By Kevin McManus