Officials urge people not to drink and drive ahead of New Year’s festivities

Advocates remain cautious ahead of one of the deadliest holidays of the year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As many prepare to ring in the new year, officials and advocates want drivers to be responsible while celebrating.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said from Christmas to New Year’s Day there were 209 drunk driving related deaths nationwide in 2020.

Officials also said that New Year’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays of the year.

AAA has some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always make sure to have a designated driver who does not plan to drink.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol or drive with someone who’s been drinking– even after just one drink.
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
  • If you’re hosting a party, remind guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911, or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that all drunk driving deaths are preventable, and advocates at the organization are nervous around this time of year.

“Do you want to lose somebody that you care about? Do you want to watch them get hurt or die or go to prison, because those are options when someone leaves the home impaired,” said Judy Cotton with MADD Northeast Florida. “It’s a very real thing that unfortunately we have to deal with all the time at MADD. We want to educate, we want people to have a good time, and if people over the age of 21 want to drink, then by golly we’re not going to stop them. We just want to make sure they have a plan before they get behind the wheel. Any alcohol is too much alcohol to get behind the wheel.”

There are also options for people, including the annual free ride program offered by Farah and Farah that offers a $50 Uber credit or cab ride up to 30 miles from the rider’s pick-up location.

Visit for more information.

AAA also has a Tow To Go option, where the company will dispatch a tow truck to transport the driver and a vehicle to a safe location within a 10-mile radius. This option is available through Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 855-286-9246.

About the Author:

Amanda DeVoe joined the News4JAX team in March 2022 as a morning news and traffic anchor