Preventing drunk driving this New Year’s Eve

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– The most recent numbers show that between December 18 and New Year’s Eve, roughly one third of all car accident deaths are caused by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One driver told 22News aside from the dangers, the risk of getting caught drunk driving is also too big of a price to pay.

“The fines, possibly losing your license, losing your job, it’s not worth it,” Fred Marquardet said.

Springfield Police Traffic Sgt. Mel Kwatowski told 22News that they will have extra police officers assigned specifically to patrolling for drunk drivers on both New Year’s Eve and the next day.

MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says you can avoid drunk driving by giving your keys to a friend before you start drinking alcohol, and have a phone number of a taxi already plugged into your cell phone before you go out.

If you’re the one hosting this year’s New Year’s Eve gathering at your home, MADD suggests having your guests confirm they have a plan to get home safely when they RSVP.  They also suggest having a taxi number on-hand ready to go in case your gusts need it.

There’s also a free taxi ride available in the greater Springfield area. United Way of Pioneer Valley partners up each New Year’s with Yellow Cab for their Dial-a-Ride program.

“We want folks to be out there having a good time, but also be mindful that it’s important that they’re safe and they protect the safety of others and so they can dial a ride, literally!” Dora Robinson of the United Way Pioneer Valley.

To use that program, you will need a valid Massachusetts I-D with your home address on it.  To use Dial-a-Ride, call (413) 739-9999.

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