Make Smart Choices This New Year!

Colonel Eric T. Olson, 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 2020. 

During last year’s 102-hour New Year’s holiday counting period, 11 people died and 447 people were injured in 1,301 traffic crashes. Thus, a person was killed or injured every 13.4 minutes during that time frame.

Many Missourians will plan special events to welcome 2020. 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.

The 2020 New Year’s 30-hour holiday counting period is from 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. 

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 2020 in jail. Be smart! Designate a sober driver, utilize a ride share service or 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. 

Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back.”

Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ