The impending arrival of the holiday season means plenty of parties and celebrations with friends and family. Unfortunately, parties and special events often lead to increased alcohol consumption which, in turn, leads to increased DUI accidents.
DUI crashes are devastating, and drivers who cause injuries or fatalities need to be held accountable. Victims of holiday season crashes should consult with a Naples auto accident attorney as soon as possible so they can explore their options for recovering compensation. Motorists also need to be aware of added dangers associated with an increase in drunk driving on specific days of the holiday season so extra precautions can be taken to avoid collisions.
A Look at the Holidays and the Increase in Drunk Driving
Two of the most dangerous times of the year on the roads are over the Christmas holiday and over the New Year’s holiday. Not only do lots of people travel during this time (which increases the number of drivers and thus raises accident risks), but there is also plenty of drinking going on.
Too many motorists are unaware of how much they can actually safely consume before getting behind the wheel, so they end up leaving a holiday party with too much alcohol in their system. Some of these drunk drivers then go on to cause collisions.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has provided statistics showing the devastating results of holiday drinking. According to MADD, there were 96 people killed in accidents with drunk drivers during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the surrounding holiday weekend in 2010. This is down from 138 fatalities during the same period in 2008; however, 37 percent of all fatal highway accidents over the Christmas holiday involved impaired drivers.
While Christmas is a dangerous time for DUI accidents, New Years is actually a higher risk period for motorists due to increased chances of an impaired driving crash. There were 143 fatalities involving impaired drivers over the course of 2010 during the New Year’s holiday celebration, according to MADD. These statistics include New Year’s Eve, New Year’s day and the surrounding weekend. On New Year’s day specifically, more than half of all fatal traffic collisions — a total of 57 percent of deadly crashes– involved drivers impaired due to excessive alcohol consumption.
On a normal weekend, MADD reports about 31 percent of all crashes total involve impaired drivers, so there is a significantly increased risk on both Christmas and New Year’s.
Drivers should avoid putting themselves into dangerous situations where they could hurt or kill others. Motorists who do get into a crash while drunk may find themselves facing criminal prosecution, and their legal violation can also create a presumption of negligence in a civil case.
Unless the impaired driver can overcome the presumption and show his or her intoxication was not the cause of a crash and resulting damages, the impaired driver should be required to cover costs and losses for other motorists.
Having a designated driver lined up before going out, along with the phone number of a taxi service and avoiding excessive drinking are all ways for motorists to do their part to help bring down the holiday crash rate. Unfortunately, when drivers don’t take these steps and make the careless choice to operate a vehicle while impaired, the consequences can be life-changing for unknowing victims of a DUI crash.
Ryan Kuhl, an auto accident attorney in Naples, can help victims recover the money they need after these accidents to get the best medical care and maintain a high quality of life despite losses caused by an impaired driver. Contact The Kelleher Firm today.