HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– According to the Cannon and Dunphy Attorneys at Law, they found that between 2013-2018, there were nearly 1,000 fatal crashes between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. However, local law enforcement is trying to prevent disasters with planning and advice beforehand.
“I like to remind people to stop and think about the things that can happen.” said Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer. “Law enforcement, we often deal with tragedy and worst case scenario so any time we might be able to offer something that saves that from happening, I like doing that.”
Law enforcement and first responders respond to hundreds of calls nationally on December 31st and January 1st every year for drunk driving, however there seems to be one more additional concern, drugged driving.
“Because of the large amount of opioid abuse and it’s one thing to abuse pills, opioids and things but it’s another thing like alcohol to get in the car when you know you’re under the influence.” said Sheriff Bohrer.
And, Hagerstown Fire Department encourages locals to decide not to start 2020 off with a bang, because it’s actually illegal in Maryland.
“Fireworks in the State of Maryland and City of Hagerstown are illegal other than ground-based sparklers.” said Hagerstown Fire Department FAO Dan Wagaman. “Might just want to leave them on the shelf.”
Both FAO Wagaman and Sheriff Bohrer has one message for all party goers.
“Don’t drive under the influence of anything, make sure you have a safe ride, we certainly don’t want to respond to an accident that anybody is involved in or injured.” said Wagaman.
“We are responsible for our actions and the actions that we take, either responsible or irresponsible on the highways directly affect other people’s lives.” said Sheriff Bohrer.
Sheriff Bohrer shared a list of tips, whether you’re staying in or going out.
On New Year’s Eve, you don’t have to leave your house to have a great time. If you’re hosting guests, here are some ways to ensure everyone can kick off the New Year in style:
- Consider your liquor liability. There’s nothing like ringing in the New Year with a glass of champagne. But if you plan to serve alcohol, be a responsible host by making sure nobody gets behind the wheel of a car. Drunk driving is a serious risk to your guests and others on the road. And in many states, you could be held liable for damage caused by a driver who leaves your party.
- Plan your activities. To keep your party running smoothly, have a list of games or activities that don’t involve alcohol. Playing games can be a great way to break the ice and are fun for guests of all ages.
- Serve plenty of food. If you’re staying up until midnight, expect lots of snacking to take place throughout the evening. A well-stocked menu of food and non-alcoholic drinks will not only keep your guests happy. It can also help counter the effects of the alcohol.
- Keep your guest list tight. When hosting a party in your home, it’s always a good idea to limit guests to people you actually know. Strangers may be less likely to respect your property, and it will be more difficult to confront them if they overindulge.
- Designate a driver. Encourage your guests to choose a designated driver before they arrive. Whether a friend is driving, or they choose to use Uber or Lyft, advanced planning will ensure no one decides to get behind the wheel.
- Shelve the firearms and fireworks. Avoid the temptation to start the New Year off with a “bang.” Firearms and Fireworks can lead to fires and injuries – and they never mix well with alcohol.
Chances are, there will be no shortage of New Year’s Eve parties. If you choose to spend the night away from home, here are some tips to help you get back safely:
- Designate a driver. If you’re planning to celebrate with alcohol, decide how you’ll be getting home before your first drink. There are plenty of ways to find a designated driver, whether you call a cab, use a ridesharing service or choose a friend to take you home.
- Celebrate with friends. There’s safety in numbers. If you’re partying with friends, have a conversation about looking out for each other before the night begins.
- Charge your phone. Before you head out for a night on the town, make sure your phone is fully charged. Getting stuck with a dead battery will make it difficult to reconnect with friends or hail a ride home, if needed.
- Eat before you leave. Not planning to go out for a full meal? Be sure to eat before you leave. Besides ensuring you won’t go hungry, a full stomach can help slow the absorption of alcohol.
- Don’t leave your car overnight. If you’re not driving home, it’s probably wise to leave your car in the driveway – and don’t forget to lock the doors. Unfortunately, criminals don’t take a holiday.