A recent survey conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving reveals that nearly 75 percent of all adults over the age of 21 have been to an event at which someone tried to drive home after drinking too much alcohol.
In a flash, what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year becomes instantly the most tragic.
It’s been long established that year-end holidays are an especially dangerous time for motorists, and it’s not solely drunk drivers who pose a problem. The University of Alabama just released a report indicating that just prior to Christmas, with so many drivers distractedly rushing from store-to-store or from one holiday destination to the next, there is a heightened risk of motor vehicle crashes. The university’s Center for Advanced Public Safety reported that in 2012, the six days just before Christmas had 18 percent more crashes than the time surrounding the Thanksgiving weekend. It was also had 27 percent more crashes than the stretch of time around New Year’s Day.
Researchers say a lot of it has to do with people not paying attention, as their mind is elsewhere and they may be trying to get a great deal accomplished as they prepare for time off work or holiday parties. This can cause them to also become anxious, which can contribute to an increase in aggressive driving habits, such as speeding and cutting off other motorists.
The consumption of alcohol may take the edge off, but our Charlotte DUI injury lawyers know that it only serves to compound the roadway dangers. Throughout the month of December, an average of 27 people die each day in DUI accidents.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nearly 1,100 people were killed in alcohol-related wrecks nationally between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 40 percent of all traffic fatalities during Christmas and New Year’s Day are caused by someone who was drunk. Two-thirds of those happened between midnight and 3 a.m.
Part of the problem may be that people don’t recognize how intoxicated they actually are before they get behind the wheel. They may assume if they are not stumbling or slurring their words that they have not yet reached their limit.
A recent social experiment on the TODAY show involved having a group of people gather at a restaurant for a story on holiday drinking. They were told to drink as they normally would. Most did not consume more than two or three drinks. Almost all believed they were Ok to drive. However, breathalyzer tests revealed several of those who believed they were “fine” were in fact over the legal limit.
We hope this kind of reality check will serve as a reminder that even a single drink can result in impairment. Remember too that prescription medications can have the same effect, and that the impact may be exacerbated if mixed with alcohol.
No one is suggesting that the holiday be completely devoid of spirits. However, we are urging everyone to be smart about it. Designate a sober driver. Call a taxi. Plan to stay where you are. Whatever you do, don’t drive drunk.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving, Dec. 13, 2013, By Larry Copeland, USA Today
More Blog Entries:
DUI Allegations in Fatal Crash a Tragic Reminder of Risk for Teens, June 21, 2013, Charlotte DUI Injury Lawyer Blog