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Drunk Driving During The Holidays

Holidays, Florida and Drunk Driving

Will you be raising your glass to toast all that you were thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday? Be sure that it’s not followed by a DUI as Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year. Furthermore, Florida tracks drunk-driving-related crashes, injuries and deaths during six major holiday periods: New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this past Labor Day, 15 people died in drunk driving car crashes in the 95-hour holiday period, or a rate of one person every 6.4 hours.

In addition, Thanksgiving eve is even referred to as “Black Wednesday,” as it may be the busiest night of the year for bars. Social binge drinking is also common at this time of year. DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend. During the Christmas and New York period, the average number of fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver rose 34%.

During the holidays, the numbers of travelers on our nation’s roads peaks as friends and family come together to celebrate. As a result of holiday parties and gatherings, more drivers are impaired by alcohol, too. Driving remains the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving and this year, about 46.9 million motorists are expected to travel across the U.S., up from 46.6 million last year. In Florida, about 2.1 million people will drive, while about 176,000 will fly. Most who drive will travel more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

Unfortunately, fatalities resulting from accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers have become so predictable that many state highway patrol departments, such as Florida, now issue fatality estimates, which usually prove to be all too accurate [1].

Happy ThanksgivingBy some estimates, Americans can expect to witness 1,200 alcohol-related traffic deaths during the holiday season. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that 52% of fatal car accidents on Christmas Day and 57% of traffic fatalities on New Year’s Eve/Day will be directly attributable to alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 25,000 traffic injuries will results from alcohol consumption during this time of year.

Avoid Accidents By Planning

Just because these numbers are alarming, doesn’t mean that it is necessary to forego holiday celebrations altogether. Safely thinking ahead about measures to take and devising a responsible plan can help prevent these avoidable accidents. If plans include a party where alcohol is being served, there are a few responsible steps to be taken:

  • Choose someone in your group to be the designated driver. This person should not consume any alcohol.
  • Bring money for a cab or an uber. Spending a few extra dollars to have a cab take you home is worth the cost of protecting yourself and others from harm. Additionally, uber gives the first ride or fare free for up to $20 per ride. After the first use, uber users may send their personal promotional code that the app offers for others to use. Once these people use that code, then the original uber user gets money off of their next ride.
  • For Tampa Bay area residents, AAA and Bud Light are teaming up once again to offer the Tow 2 Go service. This free service offers safe rides home for motorists who overindulge during their celebrations. The service will be available starting Wednesday Nov. 25 and will continue through 6 am Sunday, Nov 29. This service is available for all holidays, including Christmas, New Years and Independence Day. To obtain a ride, call (855) 286-9246 [2].
  • Follow the one drink-one-hour-with food rule. Keeping in mind the body’s need to metabolize alcohol and the fact that food will slow alcohol’s entry into the bloodstream, a responsible person will limit themselves to one dink per hour while eating food. Even then it is important to have a non-drinker who is willing to drive after the party.
  • The host/hostess may want to refrain from partaking themselves in order to be available to drive others home. Remember that the host can be held responsible for any accidents which may occur if a person left their home in any way impaired by alcohol [3].

Drunk driving during the holidays will cause more harm than the lack of patience to get home. If you are in an auto accident and the police suspect that you were drinking, it does not matter who hit who, you will be considered contributory to the incident. Furthermore, once insurance gets ahold of the information, and finds out you were drinking, they will not help whatsoever.

The holiday season is supposed to be a time to celebrate the good times; it is not the time to be displeased due to the negative impacts of drunk driving.

Dolman Law Group

While drunk driving is avoidable, people will still get behind the wheel. Even a small “buzz” can contribute to distracted and alcohol-related driving. In the approaching holidays, intoxicated drivers are more frequent on the roads, even when there are ways to prevent such measures as mentioned above. Be careful, and drive cautiously.

If you or a loved one suspect someone on the road may be intoxicated: call 911 and report the occurrence. If you or a loved one are involved in a collision with an intoxicated driver, call the authorities and then call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900. Our experienced collision attorneys are here to help.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/drunk-driving-dui-attorneys/

References:

[1] http://www.bactrack.com/blogs/expert-center/35042821-the-most-dangerous-times-on-the-road
[2] http://patch.com/florida/stpete/tow-2-go-offers-safe-rides-home-thanksgiving-weekend
[3] http://www.addiction-intervention.com/current-events/drunk-driving-current-events/drinking-driving-holidays/