We think of the winter holidays as the most festive time of the year, blending family, food, and fun. For a great many of us, though, holiday gathering also include imbibing alcohol. If we were all living in a Currier & Ives painting and riding in sleighs, whether the person holding the reins had had a few too many spiked eggnogs might not be much of a problem. With a large percentage of the population speeding down our country’s highways from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, however, we have more than enough cause to be worried about being involved in drunk-driving accidents.
While you can each take precautions for your own (and your family’s) safety by either abstaining from alcohol or designating a driver, buckling up, paying full attention to the road, and driving cautiously, you have no control of the other drivers on the road. During the holidays, there are several reasons that DUI is more prevalent. For one thing, there are more cars on the road as partygoers make their way “from Atlantic to Pacific.” For another, many of the drivers, even those who are usually sober, are “under the influence.” Also, in much of the country, weather conditions are at their worst during the winter when even sober drivers find navigating snowy, foggy, or icy roads extremely challenging.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to be a drunk driver to be involved in a drunk driving accident. If you have the bad luck of being seriously injured in a drunk driving accident over the holidays, or experience the tragic loss of a loved one, the festivities will come to an abrupt halt. Santa is unlikely to have anything to help you in his bag of goodies. You’ll need a talented car accident attorney with a track record of successful outcomes to assist you in obtaining the full measure of compensation for your injuries or in winning you a measure of justice after a wrongful death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of highway deaths during the holidays are alcohol-related. That percentage jumps to 58 percent during New Year’s, a holiday known for inebriation. Even during the weeks before Christmas, it is estimated that on the day after holiday parties 96 percent of attendees are hungover. Imagine the shape those partygoers were in on their way home the night before!
Law Enforcement Can Only Do So Much
Law enforcement officials are well aware of these troubling statistics and increase surveillance of traffic offenders during the holiday season. In some cases, they even set up checkpoints to randomly assess drivers for inebriation. In California, all drivers are required to stop and follow the directions of the police if requested to do so.
How to Handle Being the Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident
If you are injured by an intoxicated driver, whether you were driving another vehicle, riding a bicycle, or were a pedestrian, the first thing you will need is emergency medical attention. It is also important that the accident is documented by an official police report and that you (or someone assisting you) arrange to receive a copy of that report. Almost routinely, particularly after an accident involving serious injuries, the police will test both drivers’ blood alcohol content (BAC) as evidence which can later be used in court.
The most important step you can take once your medical situation is under control is to contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney to guide you through the legal process. Make sure to choose a tough litigator who is also a compassionate person to ensure that you receive the substantial amount you are entitled to compensate for all aspects of your trauma.