Drunk Driving Takes Toll During Holidays

The holidays are a season filled with parties and gatherings with family, friends and co-workers. Many of those gatherings and celebrations include alcohol. When someone becomes intoxicated and gets behind the wheel, the consequences can turn a holiday celebration into a tragedy.

Drinking-related crashes and fatalities increase during the holidays, causing more than 40 percent of the deadly wrecks around Christmas and New Year’s, as compared to 31 percent throughout the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the 2012 holiday season, 830 people died in drunk driving accidents.

Even though drunk-driving fatalities have dropped in recent years, more than 10,000 people are killed in drunk-driving-related crashes each year in the United States, according to the NHTSA. In Georgia, 301 people died in alcohol-related accidents in 2012, according to the most recent NHTSA figures.

Every accident caused by a drunk driver is a preventable accident.

Drivers in their 20s are most likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes, and male drivers are two times more likely than female drivers to be involved in a drinking-related crash.

Some 1.2 million DUI/DWI arrests were reported in 2013. And even though that may seem high, the average offender is likely to drive about 80 times under the influence before getting caught, according to driver-safety.org.

The temptation to drive while under the influence is even greater during the holidays because of the number of parties.

With that in mind, everyone is responsible for preventing drunk driving, including those throwing parties. Education and planning are crucial elements to avoiding drunk driving. Follow these tips to make sure everyone stays safe:

  • Provide games and activities for guests, because that makes it less likely that people will consume too much alcohol.Avoid games that focus on alcohol consumption, including quarters and movie-drinking games. Ask your friends beforehand what games they might like to play.
  • Snacks and a good-sized meal should be served to soak up the alcohol in people’s system. That should help keep party-goers from getting too tipsy.
  • Offer non-alcoholic alternatives for those at the party, including soft drinks for designated drivers and those who might need to cool down after hitting the spirits. For those who’ve overindulged, make a mocktail, or non-alcoholic drink that tastes just like what they’ve been drinking. Most of the time they won’t be able to tell the difference.
  • Never wait until the party ends to make driving arrangements. Confirm designated drivers before the party starts and talk with guests throughout the evening to make sure everyone is sticking with the arrangement. If guests are to RSVP, you might even ask that a sober driver be designated on the card. If you’re putting on a big party, check local taxi services in case plans for designated drivers fall through. In the worst situations, make someone who’s intoxicated spend the night.
  • Take action to prevent teenage drinking and driving. Obviously, teens should never be encouraged to drink, but if they do, someone, either a designated driver or a parent, should be available to bring them home. Talk to your teenager about problems related to drinking and make plans for safe transportation before they go out.
  • The Best Advice is not to drive after drinking alcohol.

If you or a loved one are involved in a drunk-driving crash this holiday season, contact an experienced Atlanta DUI Attorney who can help you file a personal-injury claim and guide it through the legal system so you will receive the compensation you need to get through the healing process.