During New Year’s celebrations, nowhere is safe!
A quick study of drunk driving and other crime stats for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and you might decide your health and safety would be best served by staying locked in your house for the next 48 hours.
Studies by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that early morning hours of the New Year make January 1 the most dangerous drunk driving day of the year, averaging more fatal crashes involving impaired drivers than all the other alcohol-infused holidays combined. According to statistics from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving & National Safety Council, 140 people died in drunk driving accidents last January 1.
But drunk driving isn’t the only popular criminal activity on New Year’s Day. According to analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the first day of the year is also the most popular holiday for auto theft. On January 1, 2012, more than 2,200 vehicles were stolen.
Then there are, of course, other less tracked and studied but still present (at least anecdotally) kinds of misbehavior: firing guns in the air, setting off illegal fireworks, being drunk in public, getting in drunken fights, pickpocketing, and so on.
Okay, okay, so maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds, at least according to The Northern Virginia Daily, which interviewed several cops on the subject of New Year’s revelry. “I expect to see a few (arrests), but it’s not going to be double digits or anything like that,” Lt. Warren Gosnell, head of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, told the local paper. “I think the public has become better educated. They know on these holidays when celebrating is going on that law enforcement is going to be increasing our numbers.”
Of course, District drivers, Northern Virginians, Maryland residents, and others should be forewarned that, crime spike or no crime spike, police presence will be increased on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with cops keeping a keen eye out for signs of impaired driving.
The alternative for partiers in the Washington metropolitan area is to either take a taxi or public transit—or curb one’s alcohol consumption. The first of those options is often expensive, the last is unlikely to happen, and the other, according to The Washington Post and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, can be dangerous. Metro officials say “intoxication was a primary factor” in six cases of people falling over railings and on escalators in the Metro system in the last two months. Some of the falls were caught on camera (watch the cringe worthy video here), and now officials are warning riders of the dangers of mixing excessive drinking with metro transit use. Thankfully, none of the six riders were killed, though a few were seriously injured. One man, who fell over the Christmas holiday, remains in the hospital.
If, come the New Year, you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being faced with drunk driving charges in Maryland, procuring legal representation as soon as possible is one of the most effective steps you can take in mitigating the potential legal repercussions. Call a DUI lawyer today.
*Written by staff writer and editor Brooks Hays.