RICHMOND (WRIC)—Thousands of you are heading to New Year's Eve celebrations Tuesday night, but police and other organizations are asking you to plan ahead.
ABC 8 News Reporter Parker Slaybaugh spoke with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who say these free taxi rides are a great thing, but be prepared to have a backup plan.
MADD says because of the incredibly high demand for free rides on New Year's Eve, waits will be long and people may get tired of waiting. That's why MADD is urging everyone to be responsible and arrange for a designated driver, if needed.
Hanging on the wall inside the Mothers Against Drunk Driving offices is a quilt with the names of innocent victims killed as a result of a drunk driver. One of those names is Robert L. Cooper Jr., who wasn't even a year old.
"We encourage people to plan ahead, make some decisions now before they go out," said Chris Konschak of MADD. "If they are planning on drinking, how they are going to get home."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during last year's holiday season alone, 830 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes nationwide.
Konschak says take advantage of the free cab rides being offered, but don't solely rely on them.
"There are some great cab ride home programs and organizations that are trying to get people home, but the reality is the demand is going to be really high," he said.
Konschak fears with longer wait times, people may make bad decisions.
"Sometimes, when people have been drinking, [they] get frustrated and they decide to make a decision to drive home anyway," he said.
Konschak says to plan ahead now. If you need to stay at the friend's house you plan on drinking at, then do that. If you are going out, decide on a designated driver now rather than later. He says the decisions you make now could save your life, as well as that of someone else.
"One fatality is too many," Konschak said.
As always, more police will be out, hoping to deter impaired drivers; expect multiple checkpoints.
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