Missouri Traffic Safety Advocates Warn of New Year Holiday Driving Danger

Missouri Traffic Safety Advocates Warn of New Year Holiday Driving Danger

On New Year’s Eve of 2014, something incredible happened: From 6 p.m. that Tuesday night through 11:59 p.m. the following Wednesday, not a single person died in a Missouri traffic crash.

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This is not to say there weren’t crashes over this 30-hour stretch. Troopers worked plenty – some 116 traffic collisions were reported, 42 people were injured and 47 drivers were arrested for being too drunk. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, not a single one of those wrecks was fatal.

We must not let down our guard this year. We hope for a repeat, but there is always the potential. There is evidence to suggest last year was an anomaly. The Missouri Highway Patrol reported on the New Year’s holiday just before that, there were 486 crashes, 147 injuries, 124 DWI arrests and 12 deaths.

Our St. Louis injury attorneys know in general, crashes involving impaired drivers have been on the decline nationally for several years. The same is true in Missouri. But the risks are still very real.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports roughly half of all fatalities on this particular holiday involve excessive alcohol consumption.

Part of the reason we may have seen a drop has to do with heightened awareness around the issue of drunk driving, increased enforcement with DWI checkpoints and wolf pack patrols, and stiffer punishments for those who seriously injure or kill someone while driving drunk.

Still, we consistently see more impaired driving deaths on New Year’s Eve than most other days of the year. While MDOT reports there have been years when impaired driving deaths spiked higher on St. Patrick’s Day or during Mardi Gras, rarely do crashes peak the way they do on New Year’s Eve. Between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. are when authorities respond to the most crashes. MDOT reports that between 2002 and 2012, emergency responders across the state were called to an average of 252 alcohol and drug-related incidents.

In St. Louis County, an extra 20 patrol cars are assigned to search area streets, looking specifically for drunk drivers.

In all of 2012, Missouri traffic officials report there were more than 7,000 alcohol and drug-related crashes, resulting in 270 deaths. That figure is down about 25 percent from where we were a decade ago. Still, it doesn’t mean the problem has been eradicated.

For those planning to imbibe this New Year’s holiday in St. Louis, keep the following safety tips in mind:

    • Designate a sober driver.
    • Keep the number of a local cab service handy in your phone before heading out.
    • Consider hiring a shuttle or limousine service.
    • Arrange for a hotel stay near where you will be partying.

Additional Resources:
Missouri patrol reports no fatal crashes over New Year’s Eve holiday, Jan. 2, 2014, Staff Report, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

More Blog Entries:
Summer Travel Leads to Fatal Car Accidents in St. Louis, July 17, 2014, St. Louis Accident Lawyer Blog

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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