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Staying safe on New Year’s Eve: Local preparations and ride-share options to prevent drunk driving

New Year's Day is the deadliest day of the year for drunk driving.

In fact, 375 people will likely be killed on U.S. roads in the next 24 hours.

The odds that someone will be getting behind the wheel drunk and causing a fatal accident is 117% higher on New Year's Eve, especially if it lands on a weekend. According to the National Safety Council, nearly half of the fatal accidents during New Year's involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

There's no denying going out for New Year's Eve is inevitably a risk; there's also no excuse to drive drunk anymore.

There are so many alternative options to driving impaired. There are over 1.7 million rideshare drivers around the U.S., mostly split between Uber and Lyft. Zippia reports that Uber has roughly 1 million drivers alone, whereas Lyft has around 700,000.

There's also more than 200,000 cab drivers registered around the country. The typical cost per mile for a rideshare option ranges between $1.75 and $4 per mile, and the average price for an Uber ride in a big city ranges between $10-and $25. That's nearly the same price as a 24-pack of Bud Light in the state of California, with sits around $19.30.

Here in Palm Springs, there's even a new ride share app, LGBTQ+ Ride that provides a safe and inclusive transportation service for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

Drunk driving on New Year's Eve has become such a big problem, that several agencies around the Coachella Valley, including the CHP and Indio Police Department, will be out in full-force working to prevent and catch drivers under the influence.

The best way to prevent drunk driving is to make a plan ahead of time. Make a plan to get to and from your destination safely. Have a sober friend or family member in your group or at home ready to pick you up. Last but not least, know your limit. For the average person, three drinks is enough to elevate your blood alcohol content to .05%, which would make you an impaired driver. Know when to hand your keys over or call a ride.

Some tips to defend yourself against drunk drivers on the road if you are driving sober:

  1. Be cautious at intersections. Oftentimes drunk drivers will blow through stop signs and red run re lights.
  2. Keep a safe distance between cars, five to ten car lengths. Do not use cruise control.
  3. Buckle your seatbelt. This is the top way to defend yourself if you are in a crash.
  4. Avoid rural roads and highways.
  5. Drive in the farthest right lane, because drunk drivers who drive in the wrong direction will try to overcorrect themselves and will often end up in the number one or two lanes.
  6. Participate in police check-points. Law enforcement agencies set up check-points late at night on highly travelled roadways in an attempt to catch impaired drivers. Always be respectful to the officers who are manning these check-points because they are trying to save lives. And don't tell people where they are, you could be unknowingly allowing drunk drivers to get around unchecked. (Source:

A DUI in California could cost you between $390-$18,000, but a $25 ride could save someone's life.

Do the right thing, and ring in the New Year without driving impaired.

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Tori King


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