Make Smart Choices This New Year’s!

December 21, 2018

Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, acting superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, encourages everyone to make good decisions regarding their New Year’s celebration. A traffic crash or jail cell would be an unfortunate way to begin 2019.

Last year over the 2018 New Year’s holiday counting period, nine people died and 291 people were injured in 845 traffic crashes. Thus, a person was killed or injured every 15.6 minutes during that time frame.

This New Year's holiday counting period begins at 6 p.m., on Friday, December 28, 2018, and ends at 11:59 p.m., on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

Many Missourians will plan special events to welcome 2019. Everyone knows a successful event includes planning, and the most important details should focus on the safety of every guest. As you drive to your New Year’s celebration, remember to buckle up and make sure all your passengers do the same. Remember that you are transporting special cargo, so pay attention and obey all traffic laws. Be a courteous driver: When in doubt, yield the right-of-way. Be sure to use your turn signal to communicate your intentions. The posted speed limit reflects the roadway's classification and is not a suggestion! There’s no reason to speed—the party starts after you arrive safely. Driving is a responsibility you should take seriously.

If your plans include alcohol, remember that nothing ruins a party like a DWI arrest or a drinking-related traffic crash on your way home. If you’re driving, you should be the designated driver. Otherwise, make sure your group has one before you get to the party. The roadway is no place for a driver who has been drinking. If you cause a traffic crash, your New Year might begin with being arrested, facing legal fees and medical bills, and perhaps jail time! You could lose your license and will have to face your family and friends. If you kill or injure someone, you’ll pay the price for the rest of your life. No one wants to begin 2019 in jail. Be smart! Designate a sober driver or take a taxi.

Before you travel, check road conditions by calling 1-888-275-6636. Allow extra time during inclement weather or consider staying home. Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on.

The only 100 percent survivable traffic crash is the one that never happens. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri's roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention, and drive sober. "Don't Violate The Trust."

Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ