Holiday season may be dangerous for motorists

12/23/2013, 3:39 p.m.

Busy roadways full of holiday travelers headed out to celebrate with family, friends and loved ones, will be the norm this week and next. More than 2.7 million Virginia residents are embarking on their Christmas time road trips, according to AAA. The automobile group is urging motorists to exercise extreme caution on the highway during the entire holiday travel period.

With nine out of 10 holiday travelers (2.4 million Virginians) driving to their destinations during the extended travel season, AAA says highway users to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving particularly when holiday partygoers may risk getting behind the wheel after a festive evening. According to traffic crash data provided by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), December is the most dangerous month of the year in Virginia as alcohol-related crashes account for 788 preventable “accidents” last year.

“Motorists should be aware of the high crash risk associated with drinking and driving especially this time of the year,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “As an advocate for motorists, we urge everyone to think before they drink this season and plan for a designated driver, to take a cab, or take advantage of one of the area programs for a safe ride home.”

According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five of all licensed drivers, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year. “The survey also reveals that 96 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable. Unfortunately, it seems that attitudes and the behaviors of drinking and driving just don’t add up”, added Blumling.