Holiday gatherings are a time for family and friends to come together and make lifelong memories. Sometimes, the consumption of alcohol becomes part of holiday celebrations. Alcohol consumption plus poor decision making are a recipe for auto crashes and auto fatalities.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the holidays are a tragic reality that can easily be avoided.
This holiday season is unlike any other in recent memory
Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the scaling down or cancelation of what would normally be “traditional” gatherings of family and friends celebrating the holiday season. Health professionals have sounded the alarm over their fears that holiday gatherings packed with people will provide the perfect conditions for the further spread of COVID-19.
With holiday gatherings being cancelled and so much attention on health safety this holiday season it would be reasonable to expect a decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths, but this may not necessarily be the case. While there may be fewer cars on the roads this holiday season, that does not mean there will be fewer alcohol-related fatalities.
A recent article by Forbes.com highlighted that in the United States, there was a 30% increase in traffic fatality rates in April through June of 2020. This spike in traffic fatalities may not be what you would expect in the midst of pandemic lockdowns and social distancing. There are even suggestions that the stress and uncertainly triggered by the economic and social turmoil of the pandemic may in fact result in an increase in reckless behavior like drinking and driving.
Drinking and driving: a grim holiday landscape
Drinking and driving fatalities are, sadly, a fact of life year-round. According to the CDC, on an average day in the United States, approximately 29 people die as a result of motor vehicle crashes that involves a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.
The increased amount of over-the-road travel during the holidays mixed with drinking and driving have the potential to be a deadly combination. A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that during the New Year’s and Christmas holidays in 2018 there were 285 traffic fatalities nationwide where drunk driving was a contributing factor.
The decision is yours
Intelligent choices can help you prevent tragic consequences. If you’re attending holiday celebrations this year where alcohol will be served, your best bet is to take a “pass” on drinking this year. If you choose to drink, ensure you have a designated driver – a friend or family member who hasn’t been drinking or get an Uber ride – or make arrangements to stay off the roads entirely.
This holiday season, we find ourselves in extraordinary times. Stress, fear, anxiety and economic uncertainly are daily topics of conversation. Don’t make things worse for your loved ones by becoming a statistic because of bad decision making this holiday season.
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