Forecasters say another winter storm may foul the upcoming New Year’s weekend and state agencies are bracing for an uptick in traffic crashes. New Year’s Eve is already a dangerous night to be on the road, given all the partiers who may’ve had a few too many holiday drinks.
Three people were killed in traffic accidents during the New Year’s weekend last year, one of which was an alcohol-related crash. Jim Saunders of the Iowa Department of Public Safety says state officials aren’t going to make a prediction about the number of expected traffic fatalities during the upcoming holiday weekend, but he says the potential for severe weather will make the roads doubly hazardous.
Saunders urges people to be aware there will be a lot of people on the roads as state and local law enforcement officers focus on finding and pulling over intoxicated drivers. He says, "There’re going to have zero tolerance for alcohol-related offenses. Remind folks to have a designated driver, wear their seat belts and drive defensively."
It’s a common misconception that New Year’s Eve is the deadliest night of the year to be on the road, but Saunders says that’s usually not the case. Saunders says, "Last year was rather high by comparison. The potential’s there. Our deadliest holidays tend to be around the 4th of July weekend. That being said, there’s still that risk out there and we want folks to be aware of that and drive accordingly."
He says New Year’s is usually one of the deadliest holidays of the year, and over the past five years, it averages the second-worst weekend of the year for traffic deaths statewide.