New Year's Eve: Fifth Deadliest Holiday

Minimizing Crashes During the New Year’s Holiday
“AAA’s advice is - don’t drink and drive…ever,” said Catherine L. Rossi, Manager of Public and Government Affairs, AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “We suggest motorists call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver on the road.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic Tips for New Year’s Party Attendees and Hosts
· If you plan to drive – don’t drink.
· Choose a sober designated driver.
· Use mass transit or taxis.
· Stop drinking before final call and ask for coffee and dessert.
· Don’t force alcoholic drinks on your guests.
· Eat protein-rich and starchy foods throughout the evening to combat alcohol absorption.
· Offer non-alcoholic alternatives.
· For the guest who has had too much to drink, invite them to sleep overnight or call them a taxi.

Fewer Vehicle Miles Traveled and Fewer Fatalities
Is there a connection between fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and fewer highway fatalities?
Nationally - yes.  Nationally, the decline in vehicle miles traveled appears have resulted in a decrease in highway deaths. Federal data shows Americans logging 100 billion fewer miles on the highways (Nov. 2007-Oct. 2008) and a prediction of an almost 10% drop in highway traffic deaths in the first 10 months of this year.
In Pennsylvania - no.  Pennsylvanians drove 739 million fewer miles between January 1 and October 31  compared to the same period a year earlier.  From January 1 to October 31 in Pennsylvania, the number of crash fatalities rose from 597 to 616, about 3%.  Total collisions declined from 70,537 in 2007 to 66,432 in 2008 and injuries declined from 14,110 to 13,799. (Source: Pennsylvania State Police).
“People are driving less in Pennsylvania, yet unlike other states where vehicle miles traveled declined, fatalities in Pennsylvania have not declined,” said Catherine L. Rossi, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “When people drive less, it typically reduces the crash risk.  The number of crashes in Pennsylvania declined in 2008, but sadly, not the number of fatalities.”  

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