The entire world is breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is finally about to be over. It was an “unprecedented” year in every sense of the word. With a vaccine already being distributed, there is hope that while the coronavirus won’t completely be irrelevant in 2021, it will be a much better year for safety, for health, and for happiness.
However, the transition into 2021 may not be as safe, healthy, and happy as many are optimistic it will be. Multiple studies have found that New Year’s Day is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to natural deaths and accidents. This year, the National Safety Council (NSC) is estimating that 384 people may die on U.S. roads this New Year’s holiday period, which lasts from Thursday, December 31st to Sunday, January 3rd.
No one really knows what New Year’s will be like in a pandemic, so that number may be too high, although the CDC is predicting that this winter will be the worst in public health history and that COVID-19 could claim 450,000 American lives by the end of February.
You can take the necessary precautionary measures like social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, and refraining from travel this New Year’s week in order to decrease your chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19. However, there are many other dangers that New Year’s hhttps://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/holidays/new-years-day/olds, especially when it comes to accidents and injuries. As personal injury lawyers, we encounter many victims of personal injury accidents around the holidays. Here are the 4 most common injuries received at New Year’s and some tips on how to prevent them!
Drunk driving accident injuries
This should come as no surprise to most, but most 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 between Christmas and New Year’s, 40% of deadly crashes involve drunk drivers (on average).
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.) Drunk pedestrians are 8 times more likely to be struck and killed than drunk drivers, which makes sense – pedestrians are unprotected, less visible, and more likely to be in places that are hard to see or that are unsafe.
The best way to ensure safety is to not walk home on the roads whether you are drunk or sober. If you are sober and walking a short distance, make sure you are wearing bright, reflective clothing that you are not near the road, and that you make eye contact with drivers or at least ensure they are stopping for you before crossing intersections.
When a person consumes too much alcohol – by “binge drinking”, especially – their liver cannot metabolize the alcohol as fast as they are drinking it, and the excess stays in their bloodstream until it can be processed. If too much alcohol gets in 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 U.S., many of these 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 differently than women. The CDC encourages no more than 2 standard drinks in one day for men and no more than one for women. (A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams, or .6 oz, of pure alcohol).
Burns, lacerations, and other injuries from firework mishaps
The U.S. Department of Health recorded 164 injuries last year from fireworks from December 21 to January 1. While this is a decrease from the same period leading up to 2019, it is still more people that are injured by a preventable cause, and there have been deaths reported in other years prior because of unsafe firework use.
If you are legally able to use fireworks where you live, exercise caution. Read the directions and comply. Always supervise teens using fireworks. The person lighting the fireworks should be completely sober. Only use them outdoors, and always wear safety glasses. These are the best ways to prevent painful burns and cuts from firework mishaps!
The Florida Law Group wants to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – and all of 2021. However, injuries do inevitably happen, so if you or a loved one is injured this holiday season, call our award-winning legal team to discover your options for recovering compensation and fighting for justice.