The holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones and celebrate the season. People especially look forward to New Year’s Eve and the chance to start all over again with a clean slate. But sadly, for far too many people, New Year’s is a time of endings. That’s because there is a surge in drunk drivers. Revelers are out late to ring in the New Year, and fail to plan ahead, call for a ride or just stay where they are. Instead, they risk their own lives – and the lives of their companions and everyone else sharing the road – to make it to their destination.
Technically and statistically speaking, New Year’s Eve isn’t actually horrible when to impaired drivers. The worst comes after midnight, on New Year’s Day. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than half of all fatal crashes on New Year’s Day involve a driver who was drunk or impaired. Intoxication by alcohol is typically measured by whether one had a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeded 0.08.
New Year’s Day exceeds even July 4th when it comes to the percentage of fatal crashes stemming from alcohol intoxication. On that day, 42 percent of all deadly accidents involve a drunk driver. The third is St. Patrick’s Day, on which 40 percent of all roadway deaths involve impaired motorists.
If you are imbibing this New Year, consider reminding yourself about the seriousness of the consequences of driving drunk and take the time to plan ahead. Bear in mind that even if you “sleep it off” for a few hours, it may not be enough if you really indulged. Even just having a hangover, you could technically still be too drunk to drive. And there isn’t any fast way to sober up. You can’t eat your way sober. You can’t drink water or coffee to make yourself sober. The only thing that will make you sober, eventually, is time.
Part of the problem too is that people just aren’t the best at judging whether they have had too much to drink. A single, standard drink – a 12-oz beer or a 5-oz glass of wine – is all an average person can reasonably be expected to metabolize in an hour. There are other variables that could affect that, but this is the average. Go just a bit beyond that, as many people do on New Year’s Eve, and you will quickly find yourself over the limit. Now this generally wouldn’t be a problem, unless you then choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
What if it’s a friend who wants to drive? MADD suggests:
Never letting anyone get behind the wheel of a car drunk, if you can help it.
- Calmly suggest other alternatives.
- Take their car keys.
- If you can’t stop them, call law enforcement.
- Never get in a car with someone who is drunk.
- Contact law enforcement if you spot a motorist driving erratically.
- If friends come over and drink, make sure they have a safe ride home or a place to stay.
Drunk driving simply isn’t worth the price – not just the dollar amount, but the potential loss of innocent lives. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident, our injury lawyers can help you determine the best course of legal action.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Plan Ahead this New Year’s Eve, December 2012, MADD
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