SAN ANTONIO — The holidays are a festive time, but also a dangerous time. Drivers Ed says 25% of adults admit that they drink more during the holiday season. And many studies say more than half of those drink more than double their alcohol consumption during the holidays.
"Unfortunately, with all of the celebration that happens throughout the month of December, we do see a significant increase of distracted and impaired driving on the roads," said Jennifer Northway, who is the Director of Injury Prevention at University Health. She says impaired driving is a huge problem in South Texas. Northway added, "It is one of the leading causes of coming to our level one pediatric and adult trauma center."
The period from Thanksgiving to New Year's sees an estimated 25,000 injuries from alcohol-related crashes. During the winter holidays, 40% of highway deaths are alcohol related. 28% of those occur in December. On New Year's Day, 58% of crashes are alcohol-related.
Northway told us, "The safest thing really to do is to make sure if you're going to go to a party, and have plans to have a drink, you also make plans to get a safe way home."
And whether you are drinking or not, seatbelts are a must! Northway said, "Our greatest defense against a drunk driver or impaired driver is to wear seatbelts and make sure that we're being attentive drivers."
And even if you aren't a drinker, you still have a responsibility to help keep others safe too. Northway added, "We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and protecting others from impaired driving. We can be responsible party hosts and thinking about making sure that we have alternate drink choices."
Northway also encourages people to leave keys at the door, avoid having too many salty foods as that encourages people to drink more, and if guests have too much to drink, encourage them to call or request a ride service for a ride home.
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