Drunk Driving is on the Rise for the Holidays

The holiday season is not over yet, and already drunk driving is on the rise. Truth be told, nobody is immune to drunk drivers – they can cause an accident anywhere at any time without warning.

One of the biggest concerns around the holidays is getting into a car with an intoxicated driver. If you’re not paying attention, you can end up on the road with a drunk driver before you realize you need to get out of the car.

Drunk drivers unintentionally hurt and kill people they love. In Georgia, they’re often charged with first-degree vehicular homicide. Sometimes they’re driving on a suspended license, don’t have insurance, or they’re minors, which only makes things worse.

DUIs begin to rise toward the end of November

Most news sources say drunk driving starts to rise on Thanksgiving and the night before. In America, Thanksgiving is the first major holiday celebrated en masse where alcohol is regularly served.

In some states, almost half of all holiday fatal car accidents are caused by drunk drivers. For instance, in Philadelphia, drunk drivers caused 47% of all fatal crashes between 2017 through 2021.

Towing companies and cabs start to get busy Thanksgiving eve

Taxi services say they get more calls for rides on holidays, and most of those calls come during the day. Many of the calls are from customers who have had too much to drink and need a safe ride home.

In Georgia, AAA offers a free ‘Tow to Go’ service where drivers can call a tow truck to tow their vehicle and drive them to a safe location within ten miles. Similar programs exist in other states sponsored by a variety of businesses and organizations.

While not everyone takes advantage of these services, they save countless lives every holiday season.

Some states take drunk driving more seriously than others

Even drunk drivers have rights that law enforcement offers must respect, or the drunk driver can have their case thrown out in court. For example, under some circumstances, a driver can refuse to take a breathalyzer test and request a blood test instead. However, in some cases, blood samples require a warrant.

In Austin, Texas, there is a ‘No Refusal Initiative’ that runs from November 18 through November 28 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Under this initiative, law enforcement officers can quickly get a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from an uncooperative suspected drunk driver (with probable cause).

Personal injury car accident cases rise during the holiday season

With an increase in drunk driving accidents comes an increase in personal injury lawsuits. This makes sense because victims and their families have no choice but to sue. Injuries can be debilitating and create a chain reaction of problems, including: 

  • Lost wages
  • Lost future wages after permanent disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Staggering ongoing medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inability to hold the same or similar position at work
  • Piles of household bills, including electricity, mortgage payments, and more
  • A totaled vehicle that must be replaced completely

When victims sue the at-fault driver to recover damages, they have a good chance at recovering enough compensation to pay their medical bills, household bills, and in some cases, they can receive compensation for emotional suffering and pain.

How to prevent someone you know from driving drunk

If anyone you know consumes alcohol at a holiday gathering, party, or bar, they are at risk of becoming a drunk driver. However, there are ways you can prevent a tragedy. 

  • Don’t get into a car with anyone. Drive yourself to and from every gathering. Unless you have a designated driver that you can absolutely count on to remain sober, drive yourself to holiday gatherings. If people want to party or bar hop, politely decline.
  • Take a drunk person’s keys. They’ll fight you in the moment, but do whatever it takes to get someone’s keys when you feel like they’re at risk for driving drunk. If you’re hosting the gathering, require everyone to place their car keys in a locked box so you can control when they get their keys back. They’ll thank you for it later.
  • Call the police when necessary. If you watch someone drive away drunk and don’t call the police, you’re partly responsible for any damages they cause. If someone drives away drunk, call 911.

Don’t let a drunk driver ruin the holidays

If you’re in a position to stop someone from driving while drunk, do what it takes to keep them and others safe. A drunk person can’t make good decisions, and if you’re around, you might be the only one who can intervene.

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