In America on average, nearly 12,000 people die every year in DUI-related accidents. 900,000 are arrested each year for drunk driving and one-third of those are repeat offenders. In 2011 there were 9,9878 DUI fatalities, accounting for one-third of all traffic fatalities.
The New Year’s holiday contributes to more alcohol-related traffic deaths than any other day of the year. Most deaths occur in the wee hours of New Year’s Day morning, shortly after drinkers celebrate ringing in the new year. Last year there were 122 people who died in traffic accidents on January 1. More than half of those fatalities were caused by drunk drivers.
One way some cities promote safe transportation on New Year’s Eve is by keeping public transportation systems open and running beyond usual hours. Some cities, like Los Angeles even offer free public transportation on their Metro systems in order to reduce unsafe holiday driving.
Even though DUI prevention tactics are heightened during the peak holiday season, especially on holidays like New Year’s Eve, the implementation of DUI checkpoints simply isn’t enough to prevent the dangers of drunk driving. The U.S. Congress has urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin requiring ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for all persons convicted of driving under the influence – this includes first time offenders in every state. An IID is a device that does not allow a driver’s engine to start unless the driver blows into it and registers a blood alcohol content of less than the legal limit. Currently, only 17 states and four California counties require IIDs for drivers with previous DUI convictions, and most do not include first-time offenders.