The holidays are here, and it is time to celebrate responsibly. Our holiday parties may look a little different this year, but sober driving should still be a top priority. And while the number of people gathering to celebrate the holidays is lower this year due to COVID-19, the number of fatal crashes on Ohio’s roads is about 6% higher than last year*.
Drinking and driving habits
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, drivers recognize the dangers of drunk driving, but many do it regardless. The study found that almost all drivers (94%) say driving after drinking is very/extremely dangerous. Yet, almost 10% admitted to drinking and driving in the past 30 days. It is easy to see the consequences of these choices.
What can happen if I drink and drive?
In 2019, more than 10,500 alcohol-related crashes occurred on Ohio roads, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol Statistics. The majority of these incidents occurred in December. In fact, according to the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC), there is a 34% increase in fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Overall, alcohol contributed to nearly 32% of Ohio’s 2019 fatal crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you look at National records, drunk driving crashes kill an average of 30 people every day—that’s one person every 50 minutes.
Tips to prevent drunk driving
If you choose to gather with immediate family or host a small party with friends (either at home or via Zoom), we have assembled a few easy suggestions that will allow you to enjoy the occasion safely.
- If you have been drinking, the best decision is to say home, give a sober companion your car keys, or call an Uber/taxi to take you home.
- Designate a sober driver before heading to your small holiday gathering.
- If you know you have to drive somewhere, enjoy the holiday celebrations without alcohol. Try whipping up some fun non-alcoholic mocktails.
Easy mocktail recipes to make at home
To help Ohioans celebrate safely, AAA Ohio Auto Club has pulled together some of our favorite mocktail recipes to enjoy during your holiday festivities. This includes the Ruby Sparkle Punch, Cranberry Cider and Mock Champagne. Full details and more recipes are available at AAA.com/Mocktails.
So enjoy some delicious mocktail recipes at a small family get-together, or share the recipe and host a holiday Zoom party. Either way, AAA urges Ohioans to stay safe this holiday season and drive sober.
NOTE: Please refer to the latest CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
*Based on Ohio fatal crash data from the Ohio Traffic Safety Office released on Dec. 7, 2020.