Get Home Safe This New Year's Eve
Celebrate responsibly with tips and tricks from AAA Colorado
DENVER (December 29, 2017) – There have been 226 impairment-related traffic fatalities on Colorado’s roadways in 2017, according to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. With New Year’s Eve celebrations fast approaching, AAA Colorado urges revelers, party hosts, and drivers to take responsibility and action to avoid additional alcohol-related crashes and fatalities as 2017 comes to a close.
“There are already more impairment-related traffic fatalities on Colorado roads in 2017 than there were in all of 2016, and the year isn’t over yet,” said Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesman. “There is never any excuse to drive impaired. The bottom line is that planning ahead will save lives.”
Tips for Party Hosts
Remember the simple “ABCs” of party hosting to reduce the likelihood that one of your guests drives impaired:
A – Alcohol Awareness
Require your guests to choose a designated driver for the evening. Have a car key collection when your guests arrive. Mix drinks yourself and avoid open bars. Stop serving alcohol 90 minutes before the party is over.
B – Buffet
Always serve high-protein foods such as meats and cheeses, as they stay in the stomach longer and slow down the rate of intoxication. Starchy foods are great, too. Minimize salt: It makes people thirsty and can speed up intoxication. Always provide non-alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, juices, punch, and plenty of water.
C – Carpool
Remember: Only TIME can make your guests sober. It takes one hour for the body to process the average drink. 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 1.5 ounces of liquor contain about the same amount of alcohol. Alcohol affects different people in different ways, so keep watch on your guests’ behavior as the night progresses. Arrange a cab or ride-share service (such as Lyft or Uber), ride with a designated driver, or invite intoxicated friends to sleep over. For clearly inebriated guests, hide their keys until they have found another ride home. They’ll thank you later.
Tips for New Year's Revelers
Preventing drinking and driving is a shared responsibility to save lives. New Year’s Eve party-goers can do their part by heeding the following advice:
- Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
- Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
- Call a taxi or arrange a Lyft or Uber ride for a friend in need.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over so a safe location to make the call yourself).
- Remember: Prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
“It’s worth repeating: If you have to drink, don’t drive. And if you have to drive, don’t drink,” McKinley said. “DUIs and the tragic crashes that often result can be easily avoided if everyone is aware of the issue and actively presents alternatives to driving drunk, including rides, designated drivers, and non-alcoholic beverages.”
Safe Ride Services
Across Colorado, there are several services that can get revelers home safely. Partygoers should plan on leaving their cars at home. Roadside assistance will be available to AAA members, but it is not meant to be used solely because someone is under the influence. With temperatures expected to drop sharply on New Year’s Eve, AAA Colorado’s roadside assistance resources will be dedicated to getting disabled vehicles on the move or to a safe location.
A comprehensive list of safe ride services, statewide, is available at aaa.com/saferide.
- Call 1-800-829-4222 (TAXICAB) to be connected to taxi services around Colorado
- RTD will be offering free bus and rail service on its entire system from 7:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 7:00 a.m. on January 1. More information is available at: http://www3.rtd-denver.com/elbert/news/index.cfm?id=7785
- Aspen’s Tipsy Taxi program, now in its 34th year, operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in partnership with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Aspen and Snowmass Village Police and the local restaurant association. Revelers should ask their bartender to make the call.
- The Aurora Police Department is offering free rides home through its "Operation Choose Your Ride NYE." The program operates December 29 through January 1 from 9:30 to 2:30 a.m. and is available to anybody who lives within 10 miles of the Aurora border, is of legal drinking age, has a valid ID, and agrees to a brief search. Contact the APD traffic section at 303-627-3100.
- In the Denver-metro area, The Sawaya Law Firm is continuing its “Free Cab Ride Program” through January 1, 2018. More information is available at: https://www.sawayalaw.com/resources/free-cab-ride-program/
- In Colorado Springs and Pueblo, McDivitt Law Firm will be providing free cab rides home from any drinking establishment. In Pueblo, call City Cab at 719-543-2525. In Colorado Springs, call zTrip at 719-777-7777. Tell the cab driver “It’s on McDivitt.” More information here: https://mcdivittlaw.com/about/mmad/free-rides-home
About AAA Colorado
More than 660,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit Colorado.AAA.com.