Approximately 29 people in the United States suffer fatal injuries each day in alcohol-related vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident is particularly high during the winter holidays, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. The NHTSA reports that 10,497 people suffered fatal injuries in alcohol-impaired driving-related crashes in 2016, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 781 of those fatal accidents occurred in December alone.
The Effects of Alcohol on Driving Ability
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in all states is .08 percent, the level at which crash risk increases exponentially. However, smaller amounts of alcohol may still affect driving ability. Those driving under the influence of alcohol may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Decreased alertness
- Delayed reaction time
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of balance
- Poor muscle coordination and control
According to the NHTSA, drunk drivers with BACs of .08 or higher are involved in about one-third of all U.S. traffic crash fatalities. Between 2006 to 2016, more than 10,000 people were fatally injured in drunk driving crashes annually. The NHTSA cautions against drunk driving and is dedicated to reducing alcohol-related crash fatalities through research, state safety grant programs, and public awareness campaigns, such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over NHTSA Campaign
The NHTSA offers resources and materials to the public for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which serves to remind drivers of the risks and consequences of driving drunk, such as getting arrested or injured. The campaign warns that law enforcement in every state will be cracking down on drunk drivers to tackle the drunk driving epidemic in the U.S.
Tips for Safe Driving During the Holidays
AAA suggests that drivers take several precautions to increase their safety when traveling during the holiday season, such as performing vehicle maintenance and mapping out routes and alternates in case of inclement weather, in advance. The NHTSA cautions that individuals who have been drinking should not drive and encourages responsible behavior, such as:
- Having a designated driver
- Not letting friends drive drunk
- Calling a taxi or ride-sharing service
- Downloading and using NHTSA’s SaferRide app
- Serving water and non-alcoholic beverages at parties
- Ensuring that all guests leave with a sober driver
- Contacting local law enforcement to report drunk drivers
- Always wearing a seat belt
Obtaining Compensation for Injuries
Those who are injured in a drunk driving accident may be able to hold the driver who caused the accident responsible. Laws regarding compensation for motor vehicle claims vary from state to state, therefore it is advisable that car accident victims seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney in their geographical area. In Illinois, those injured in a car accident may be eligible for compensation, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and punitive damages.
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Those Injured in Drunk Driving Accidents Obtain Compensation
If you were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Edwardsville car accident lawyer at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries so that you can focus on your recovery. From our office located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent clients in Edwardsville, St. Clair County, and Belleville. For a consultation, contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644.