posted on December 23, 2012 by Willingham & Cote
by Divorce & Family Law, Troy Clarke, Alcohol Beverage, Criminal Law
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen firsthand that an unfortunate companion to the holiday season is a spike in drunk driving incidents on New Year’s Day. An analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2000-2009 found that an average of 80 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Day, which was almost two-and-a-half as many people killed in accidents on the same day of the week in the period around New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Day in 2010, 57 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a drunk driver, a huge increase when considering that 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010 involved a drunk driver.
The increase in accidents on holidays like New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July simply illustrate what everybody knows: no one should take the wheel when they are drunk. If you will be attending festivities and drinking this New Year’s Eve, use a designated driver, take a cab, or plan to stay over.
A good plan is essential. Find cab companies or public transportation serving the area near the festivities and use them. Talk to a friend about being a designated driver, or better yet, volunteer yourself. Find out if you can stay over if at a friend’s home and bring an overnight bag. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
And as of the time of writing, in the greater Lansing area, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will continue its great holiday tradition of providing “Safe Ride Home” buses for people on New Year’s Eve at regular fare rates. Those wishing a ride home can call CATA at 517-394-CATA (2282) between the hours of 7PM and 3AM on New Year’s Eve. Passengers will be picked up and taken home between the hours of 10PM and 4AM. Safe Ride Home buses travel as far north as Sheridan Road, to Dobie Road on the east, Holt Road on the south and Waverly Road on the west. Call early as service is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stay safe out there, everyone.
 One in Ten Drivers admit The May Have Driven Drunk, Finds AAA Foundation Study, (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, D.C.), Dec. 2010.
 MADD’s “Tie One On For Safety” Holiday Campaign Cautions Drivers as More Highway Deaths Caused by Drink Driving, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Irving, TX), Nov. 13, 2012.
 About CATA, CATA News and Info, CATA Will Offer Safe Rides Home on New Year’s Eve, November 29, 2012, (http://www.cata.org/AboutCATA/NewsInfo/tabid/82/mid/948/newsid948/156/CATA-Will-Offer-Safe-Rides-Home-on-New-Years-Eve/Default.aspx, accessed December 14, 2012)