New Year's ranks among deadliest

As residents prepare for New Year’s celebrations, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet wants to remind drivers and passengers alike of the dangers on the roads this New Year’s Eve, which ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
“People need to be responsible and plan ahead”, said Sheriff Herzet, “With all the technology today, it’s easy to arrange a ride.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes in all of 2017, which is an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes. In Kansas, 90 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2017, accounting for 19.5 percent of all traffic fatalities.
December is a particularly dangerous month for impaired driver crashes across the country, according to NHTSA. Over the past five years, an average of 300 people died in drunk-driving crashes nationwide during the Christmas through New Year’s holiday period. For the entire month of December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver.
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) statistics from the 2017-18 New Year’s reporting period (Fri.-Mon., 78 hours) 40 percent of the fatality crashes in Kansas were alcohol related. More than one in ten injury crashes during the period involved alcohol.
 Sheriff Herzet is warning of the dangers of drunk and buzzed driving this holiday season and urging revelers, party hosts and drivers to take responsibility and action to avoid alcohol related crashes and fatalities.
“Preventing drinking and driving is a shared responsibility”, Herzet continued, “Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.  If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and  call 911.  It helps to have a tag number, vehicle description and location.”