Last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with the U.S. Transportation Secretary, kicked off the start of their annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign. This initiative is aimed at both reducing the number of drunk and drugged drivers on the road and educating drivers about the hazards that come with getting behind the wheel when impaired. One such educational measure is the NHTSA’s newly released “Model Guideline for State Ignition Interlock Programs,” which is intended to aid states in the development and implementation of breath alcohol ignition interlock programs that require drivers to pass a breathalyzer test before starting their vehicles. Local law enforcement units from all across the country, as well as other safety organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) have pledged to join in the campaigns education and enforcement plans. The crackdown will run until January 1, 2014, and will include some $7.5 million worth of national advertisements via television and radio.
Over the past decade, approximately 41% of all personal injuries and fatalities that occurred around Christmas and New Years Day were alcohol-related, which is a significant spike compared to the ten year national average of 31%. Either way, the holidays are a very dangerous time to be on the road, so it is important to always take steps to ensure that you your passengers get home safely. Our lawyers have spent more than 20 years dealing with alcohol-impaired car accident lawsuits, so here are a few of our tips for enjoying yourself responsibly this winter.
• Always Designate a Driver-Always have a plan to get home safely at the end of the night. This can mean a cab, a sober driver, or a friend dropping you off at home.
• Watch Out For Your Friends and Family Members-Don’t remain silent if you notice that a family member or friend is about to leave an outing and drive home drunk. They may be angry in the moment, but they will thank you later, and most importantly, they will remain safe.
• When Hosting a Holiday Party, Collect Keys-Leave a bowl out for collecting keys at your holiday party. This will allow you to determine whether someone is fit to drive, and prevent them from doing so if they have had too much to drink.
• Drive Defensively-This is perhaps the most important tip of all; never assume that just because you are sober you are safe when on the road. There are thousands of inebriated drivers this time of year, so always be sure to drive defensively and be ready to react to the recklessness of someone else. Maintain a safe following distance and avoid any car driven by an individual who appears to be intoxicated.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation, so if you believe you may have a case call our lawyers for a free consultation to explore your legal options.