Multiple studies have found that New Year’s Day is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to natural deaths and accidents. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 427 people may die on U.S. roads this New Year’s Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often cause for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes.
Here are the four most common injuries received at New Year’s and some tips on how to prevent them!
Drunk driving accidents
This should come as no surprise to most, but a very large percentage of accidents on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are caused by drunk drivers. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism found that, on average, 40% of deadly crashes between Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers.
There is simply no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk, tipsy, or otherwise intoxicated. Wait where you are until you are sober enough to leave (time is the only way to sober out, not coffee), spend the night at the house you are in, or call a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft to take you to your destination. Life is too precious to risk losing yours or harming others by driving drunk.
New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are some of the worst holidays for pedestrian accidents, injuries, and deaths. One study found that from 1986 to 2002, New Year’s Day was the deadliest of the whole year for pedestrians. You are 1.7 times more likely to be killed while walking on New Year’s Day than any regular day, and that risk increases if you are intoxicated (as 58% of pedestrians killed on New Year’s Eve/Day are intoxicated). Drunk pedestrians are 8 times more likely to be struck and killed than drunk drivers, since pedestrians are unprotected, less visible, and more likely to be in places that are hard to see or that are unsafe.
When a person consumes too much alcohol, especially by “binge drinking,” their liver cannot metabolize the alcohol as fast as they are drinking it, and the excess alcohol stays in their bloodstream until it can be processed. If too much alcohol gets into the bloodstream, that causes alcohol poisoning, and it can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Approximately 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths occur annually in the United States, with many of these occurring on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
Avoiding alcohol poisoning is simple. Don’t binge drink and know your limits. Men metabolize alcohol differently than women. The CDC encourages no more than two standard drinks in one day for men and no more than one for women. A standard drink is equal to 14 grams, or 0.6 ounces, of pure alcohol.
Between December 21, 2020, and January 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health recorded 164 injuries from fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 9,100 consumer fireworks-related injuries were seen in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2018. Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five civilian deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.
If you are legally able to use fireworks where you live, please remember to exercise caution. Read all of the directions and make sure to comply with them. Always supervise teenagers using fireworks. The person lighting the fireworks should be completely sober. Only use fireworks outdoors, and always wear safety glasses. These are the best ways to prevent painful burns and cuts from firework mishaps!
Miller Trial Law wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year! However, injuries do inevitably happen, so if you or a loved one was injured this holiday season, please call us today at (305) 697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation. We look forward to serving you!