Nearly Half of 2014 Traffic Deaths Were Alcohol-Related in Del. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Nearly Half of 2014 Traffic Deaths Were Alcohol-Related in Del.

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WILMINGTON, Del. - As Americans prepare to ring in the new year, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers and passengers to stay safe on the roads.

The agency says New Year's Day consistently ranks among the year's deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2013, which is nearly a third of overall fatalities,” says Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “With people celebrating the New Year and then getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking, January 1 is a particularly dangerous day on the roads. Even one death is far too many to be lost from a completely preventable crime.”

Of the 124 traffic deaths this year in Delaware, 58 were alcohol-related, Lardear says. The NHTSA reports that this 47% rate is higher than the national average.

According to Delaware State Police statistics, there were 73 crashed on the New Year's holiday last, with 24 people injured. Nearly 4,000 DUI arrests have been made in the state this year, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety said.

In an effort to protect the public against drunk driving accidents, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following safety tips:

  • 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).
  • Download NHTSA's new SaferRide app, which will allow users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

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