New Year’s Eve has the reputation in Iowa for being a dangerous night on the road due to drunk drivers, but a study finds tonight, the night before Thanksgiving, is also among the very deadliest nights to be out. Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research at Triple-A, says the 4th of July actually has the highest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths.
“But in terms of the most popular bar night, it is this night before Thanksgiving,” Nelson says. “Before the family commitments begin, folks are back in their hometown and they have a chance to visit with old friends from childhood, that type of thing. Folks tend to go out to the bar or to involve alcohol in some way in those celebratory activities.” Nelson is urging Iowans to offer their support for a culture of zero tolerance for impaired driving.
“We’re asking folks to go to TakeThePledge.AAA.com and to sign a quick and easy online pledge to drive only while drug- and alcohol-free this holiday season,” Nelson says, “but especially all year long.” During this week and throughout the year, for that matter, Nelson offers some tips to stay safe and keep others safe on the roads.
“Never get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been drinking alcohol and that means even after just one drink,” Nelson says. “Never ride in a car with somebody who you suspect has been drinking or drugging, either. Instead, take a few minutes in advance, to plan ahead for a sober ride before any holiday celebration begins. Never, ever hesitate to take the keys from friends or family who you think might be impaired.”
He says to be a real friend, call a taxi for those in need. Also, he says a responsible host will offer guests alcohol-free beverages. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which Nelson says is an opportunity for motorists to make wise decisions and take actions that will prevent needless tragedies that could forever impact their lives.