After you toast, don't hit the road

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thousands of people will start celebrating the New Year this weekend. With those toasts also come concerns for drinking and driving.

Police and AAA want to make sure you don't take that risk. Getting behind the wheel costs way too many lives, and AAA continues to remind people how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel drunk. During the last 10 years, drunk driving related deaths were the highest on New Years' day according to AAA.

"Now we've got the perfect storm," said Martha Meade with AAA. "It's the deadliest day for alcohol related fatalities and it's following on a weekend."

It's wise to take a cab, or better yet use the free shuttle -To The Bottom and Back. It's a free bus service that transports people between the Fan District, Downtown and Boulevard and Broad streets. It runs 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., Thursday through Saturday. Last year, Allen & Allen organized a free taxi cab service to celebrate it's 100 year anniversary, but not this year.

"In a perfect world, there would be a multitude of services on New Year's Eve to get people home," said Meade. "Those can sometimes be limited but that just means you have to plan ahead."

That prior planning could prevent a lot of trouble down the road, especially since nearly 11,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2009, and more than 400 just in the last half of 2010 in the Commonwealth. Even though that number has dropped nearly 30 percent in the last five years, it's still too high.

"We just cannot preach enough, go out there and have a good time celebrating new Years Eve, Meade added. "Just don't get behind the wheel of a car."

Many times, the people who get hurt in the drunk driving accidents are the innocent victims. A first time DUI conviction could land you in jail for six to 12 months.

"Lets make this New Year's one where everybody lives to celebrate 2012," Meade added.

To keep from getting behind the wheel drunk, you can also track the Bottom and Back bus online.

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