Prevent drunk driving this New Year’s Eve

COLUMBUS — On average, drunk driving crashes kill one person every 45 minutes in the United States. As New Year’s Eve approaches, officials from AAA Ohio encouraged party-goers to make safety a top priority by doing their part to prevent drunk driving.

According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 97 percent of motorists find it unacceptable for a driver to get behind the wheel when they’ve had too much to drink. However, one in eight drivers admit to driving when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to or over the legal limit at least once in the past year.

In Allen County, 104 people died in crashes in Allen County. During 2016, 14 people died in traffic crashes, with 11 dying so far this year, according to the Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition. Additional law enforcement will be out in full force until Jan. 2 looking for impaired drivers, according to the group.

Alcohol contributed to more than 12,200 crashes on Ohio’s roads in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. New Year’s celebrations contributed to that number with 47 alcohol-related crashes on Dec. 31, 2016, and 82 alcohol-related crashes on Jan. 1, 2017.

AAA encouraged hosts and party-goers to celebrate responsibly and prevent drunk driving by following safe celebration tips:

• Plan ahead: Don’t Drive Impaired — Choose a designated sober driver, or plan to call a cab or ride sharing service if you will be drinking.

• Serve non-alcoholic beverages — Host responsibly and never let guests drive drunk. Ohio’s host liability law holds those who serve alcohol liable for injury or death that occurs due to their drunk guests.

• Take the pledge at — Pledge to drive drug and alcohol free, and share your pledge on social media, encouraging friends and family to do the same.

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