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Drinking and Driving Accidents During the Holidays

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and spending time with family and friends. However, this time of year also brings tragedy to many, often at the hands of a drunk driver. During the latest reporting year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that alcohol-related crashes were responsible for 29% of all traffic fatalities in the US.

According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were around 400,000 vehicle crashes during the last full reporting year. Out of those, there were:

  • 19,405 serious crash injuries
  • 1,504 crash fatalities
  • 375 alcohol-related traffic fatalities

Why are the holidays dangerous for driving?

Every holiday season, hundreds of lives are lost across the US due to drunk driving crashes. According to the US Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people die in drunk driving crashes during the week between Christmas and New Year. The DOT says that, in 2016, nearly 800 people lost their lives in December alone due to drunk driving incidents.

Law enforcement agencies increase patrols on the roadways during the holiday season because they want to prevent incidents of drunk driving.

This time period is one with festivities and plenty of parties. Sometimes, these are family get-togethers. Often, people enjoy time with coworkers at holiday end-of-year parties. A common theme at holiday parties is alcohol. There is usually an abundance of it, and it is often free.

Free alcohol and holiday parties are not a good combination when it comes to saving lives.

How to get home safely after drinking

If you or your loved ones plan on participating in holiday parties, make a plan ahead of time. If you know you will be drinking, there are plenty of alternatives to driving yourself.

  • Don’t take your car to the party to begin with. This will prevent any temptation to say, “I’m not that drunk.”
  • Choose a designated driver and stick with it.
  • Call a friend if you realize you are too intoxicated to make it home.
  • Call an old-fashioned taxi if you need to.
  • Download one or more ridesharing apps and use them to get home.

Drunk driving injuries are often severe

We already mentioned that drunk driving incidents are the cause of a significant percentage of traffic fatalities. These crashes also lead to severe injuries for passengers in vehicles involved. It is not uncommon to see the following injuries in the aftermath of a DUI crash:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

Talk about drinking and driving

Many people do not like to discuss drunk driving, but you should do so with family and friends at the start of each holiday season. Talk about the statistics presented here. Discuss the penalties for getting caught drinking and driving in Georgia:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Up to one year of license suspension
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • DUI education course

Penalties for a second or subsequent DUI offense are much harsher, and any DUI crash that results in an injury or fatality can lead to felony charges against the drunk driver.

Drunk driving around the holiday time in Georgia is too common, but you can be part of the group working to make our roadways safer. If you were involved in a drunk driving accident or were charged with a DUI in Coweta County, contact Kam, Ebersbach & Lewis, P.C. to speak with an experienced lawyer and help you with your case.