Celebrating safely on New Year’s Eve

Published 5:55 pm Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, enjoyment and looking forward to the future.

However, if people aren’t careful, it can also become a dangerous time. It’s no secret that New Year’s Eve celebrations often involve alcohol, but by taking precautions and playing it safe, the holiday can be fun instead of fatal.

Last year, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes, and 67 percent of those drunk drivers had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Even the legal BAC limit of 0.08 can lead to poor coordination, lack of judgment, poor concentration and more difficulty detecting danger, the NHTSA website states. A BAC as seemingly low as 0.02 can cause some loss of judgment and a decline in visual capabilities.

Drinking and driving is no laughing matter, and rather than taking a chance, it’s always better to stay out from behind the wheel. If one is acting as the designated sober driver, it’s also important to watch out for drunk drivers on the road and be vigilant about any possible hazards.

NHTSA offers tips for staying safe:

  • Plan a safe ride home before the party begins.
  • If intoxicated, do not drive for any reason.
  • If a friend or loved one has been drinking, take their keys and/or arrange a safe ride.
  • Contact local law enforcement if a drunk driver is spotted on the road.

Before popping open the bubbly, be sure to take these tips under consideration. Yes, tragedy can happen to you or a loved one. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

No party is worth a life. Let’s keep New Year’s as a time for celebration — not tragedy.

Happy New Year!