Two of the three year-end holidays are in the rear-view mirror, but perhaps the wildest, most perilous one is still ahead. Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us, but New Year’s Eve – the most notorious drinking holiday of them all – is just a few days away.

While alcohol-related motor vehicle wrecks have been declining in Missouri for years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have persisted as perhaps the most dangerous time to be on Missouri roads.”

The newspaper says that despite all of the efforts to curb drinking and driving – including sobriety checkpoints and increased holiday police patrols – the hours right before midnight on Dec. 31 and the hours right afterwards “consistently produce more alcohol- and drug-related car accidents than any other night in Missouri.”

If you look at the numbers from 6 pm on New Year’s Eve to 6 am on New Year’s Day, there are 71 percent more alcohol- and drug-related crashes than on the average weekend night, the paper says its analysis of 10 years of Missouri Highway Patrol accident data shows.

In 2017, of the 64 crashes on Missouri roads during the 48 hours of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, 49 of them were between 6 pm and 6 am. “The number of accidents at night was the highest total since 2007, though the overall number for both days combined was lower than in previous years,” the Post-Dispatch says.

The numbers don’t lie. Please be careful if you plan to go out on New Year’s Eve. It’s a magical time, but can also be one of the year’s most dangerous.