During the last decade, the years' highest number of drinking-related traffic deaths occur on New Year's Day, that according to AAA. In 2009, one person died in an alcohol related crash every 48 minutes. Another survey shows, 97% of people think drinking and driving is wrong. Yet, it still happens, at alarming rates. "I think people lose track when they're having a few," says Ed Welsh of AAA.
And aside from the dangers of drunk driving, getting a DWI is an expensive crime. "When we look at the facts of what it can cost, the average DUI can cost around $10,000 and that's if nobody gets hurt," says Welsh, "God forbid you hurt somebody or someone else, those costs can go on forever."
Welsh says that while alcohol is commonplace at New Year's parties, it's important to come up with a plan as a party-goer, and host, to ensure that no one gets behind the wheel intoxicated.
Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara spoke with Eyewitness News about exactly how involved and costly the process of being arrested for driving while intoxicated is. He says for those arrested for DWI they'll have to deal with: Being handcuffed and arrested, having to be picked up from the police station, their car will be towed, the hiring of an attorney, insurance will go up and its costly to get a license back. He says the legal process can be lengthy and costly and if convicted the defendant can be forced to go to alcohol counseling, which they would have to pay for. McNamara says it can sometimes lead to marital, family and job issues as well.
Both Welsh and McNamara say it's so simple to avoid this potentially life-changing event. They say the easiest thing to do: have a designated driver or take a cab.