posted on December 05, 2013 by Willingham & Cote
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen firsthand that an unfortunate companion to the holiday season is a spike in drunk driving incidents on New Year’s Day. An analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2000-2009 found that an average of 80 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Day, which was almost two-and-a-half as many people killed in accidents on the same day of the week in the period around New Year’s Day. And between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in 2011, 931 people were killed nationwide in drunk driving accidents.
The increase in accidents on holidays like New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving simply illustrate what everybody knows: no one should take the wheel when they are drunk. If you will be attending festivities and drinking this New Year’s Eve, use a designated driver, take a cab, or plan to stay over.
A good plan is essential. Find cab companies or public transportation serving the area near the festivities and use them. Talk to a friend about being a designated driver, or better yet, volunteer yourself. Find out if you can stay over if at a friend’s home and bring an overnight bag. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
And as of the time of writing, in the greater Lansing area, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will continue its great holiday tradition of providing “Safe Ride Home” buses for people on New Year’s Eve at regular fare rates.
In past years, those wishing a ride home could call CATA at 517-394-CATA (2282) between the hours of 7PM and 3AM on New Year’s Eve. In 2013, passengers were picked up at designated CATA bus stops and taken home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and buses traveled as far north as Sheridan Road, to Dobie Road on the east, Holt Road on the south and Waverly Road on the west. Remember to call early as service is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stay safe out there, everyone.
 One in Ten Drivers admit The May Have Driven Drunk, Finds AAA Foundation Study, (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, D.C.), Dec. 2010.
 “Save Lives This Holiday Season”, (http://www.madd.org/blog/2013/november/save-lives-this-holiday.html), November 13, 2013.
 CATA Event Calendar, (http://cata.org/AboutCATA/CATAEvents/tabid/354/Default.aspx), accessed December 3, 2013.