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New Year, Old Myths, New Fatalities
Date:12/16/2008

Alcohol-related Traffic Deaths Jump on New Year's Eve

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Some New Year's predictions are, tragically, very reliable. For example, more people are likely to die in alcohol-related traffic crashes on New Year's Eve than on other mid-week winter evenings.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081216/NE52502 )

Just look at the numbers. A recent analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics shows that, by the time our country finished ringing in the year 2007 (the latest year for which data are available), 54 people had died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in the 12-hour span between 6:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 5:59 a.m. the next morning. Two weeks later, on the same night of the week, the death toll dropped to 20.

Myths Persist

Even though many of us are aware of the higher rates of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on New Year's Eve, myths about drinking and driving persist -- myths that, for some, can prove fatal. Scientific studies supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) on how alcohol affects our brains and bodies provide important information that challenges these commonly-held--but incorrect--beliefs. These myths are related to how quickly alcohol affects the body and how long these effects can last.

Alcohol's Effects Begin Quickly

Many New Year's revelers get into trouble because they generally do not recognize that critical driving-related skills and decision-making abilities are diminished long before they begin to show the obvious physical signs of intoxication.

Initially, alcohol acts as a stimulant and if you drink you may temporarily feel upbeat and excited. But don't be fooled. Inhi
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SOURCE NIAAA
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