Drunk Driving is a Serious Problem
The Holiday season is upon us and with it comes celebrations of all sorts, ranging from office parties to family get-togethers. While everyone should enjoy the holiday festivities and celebrate responsibly, unfortunately, not everyone will.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving‘s website states that “some of the most dangerous days of the year for our nation’s highways are between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.” Likewise, the NHTSA says that more accidents and deaths occur during the Holiday season in the United States than at any other time. When the holidays arrive, it seems more and more people get behind the wheel intoxicated from alcohol or some other substance.
The statistics show that one-third of the drunk driving-related accidents and resulting injuries and deaths are around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Year-end typically has a 230%+ spike in drunk driving-related accidents. Despite all the campaigns and ads that run on all media outlets, the problem keeps getting worse … never better.
Driving Under the Influence Affects Us All
Whenever someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to drive while intoxicated, they endanger not only their lives, but the lives of everyone in the car with them, and everyone on the streets around them as well. At best, it’s a selfish and stupid thing to do, but far too often it’s deadly.
Alcohol and many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can impair one’s ability to drive. Add to that distractions like text messages and watching for unpredictable behavior from other drivers, and safe driving can be tough … why would anyone want to make it worse and drive impaired? Alcohol can slow driver reflexes by decreasing eye muscle function, which results in blurred vision and a decreased ability to correctly judge distance. Other effects include drowsiness, loss of ability to focus, reduced reaction times, and an inability to follow the centerline or read road signs. Concentration and focus are diminished as drunk drivers lose the ability to make good choices.
The result? Drivers can quickly lose the ability to operate a vehicle properly and maintain control, often producing a disastrous outcome. NHTSA statistics show that over 10,000 youth are killed and 40,000 are injured because of drunk driving accidents each year, at least in part because drunk drivers often carry passengers, resulting in additional victims.
Types Of Injuries From Drunk Driving Car Accidents
The most common injuries stemming from accidents that involve drunk drivers are brain and head trauma, back pain (including whiplash), and skin injuries. Trauma to the brain, head, or spinal cord can result in paralysis, or at minimum cause debilitating injury. Even when the accident isn’t severe and there aren’t serious injuries, victims still face recovery from the trauma of the incident itself.
The mental trauma and anguish following a car accident can last from days to weeks, or even years. Psychological injuries should not be taken lightly. The mental effects can be the result of a personal experience or from coping with the injuries or death of other victims in a crash. The families and loved ones of those injured or killed in a drunk-driving accident can be affected psychologically even though they were not physically involved in the accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, whether it’s a physical injury or emotional distress, please contact me immediately. When an accident happens to you, the results can be devastating. As a Kansas City personal injury attorney, I will provide the experienced representation you need to successfully settle your claim.
Legal Ramifications of Drunk Driving
When a driver drives drunk or intoxicated there can be legal repercussions. The legal blood alcohol level in most states is 0.08%. The consequences for driving while intoxicated or under the influence begin with an arrest and possible jail time and suspension of driving privileges. It will cost the driver financially with attorney fees, court costs, and increased insurance rates … not to mention the costs associated with being sued for causing injuries and damage to others.
Charges and penalties against a drunk driver may range from court-ordered community service or DUI school to jail time, depending on the severity of the accident. While a drunk driving offense is a misdemeanor, there may be other charges such as vehicular manslaughter if the victim dies. The driver must pay for damaged property and address the trauma caused to their victims.
How to Protect Yourself from Drunk Drivers
Although impaired drivers are to blame for drunk driving accidents, they directly affect perfectly sober victims. Drunk drivers are one of the most dangerous obstacles you will ever face on the road, and statistics show that it’s only a matter of time before someone puts your life in jeopardy because of their poor decisions. This holiday season, it’s more important than ever to pay close attention whenever you’re behind the wheel. Here are a few tips to help protect yourself and your passengers from impaired drivers.
Every driver should drive defensively, but the holidays are the time to be on your A-game. It begins with you driving sober and then keeping your eyes open for any driver who drives erratic or in a manner, not in keeping with normal driving. Call and report anyone you suspect might be driving intoxicated. You may not only save their life but countless others. Be safe!
Wear a Seatbelt
Buckling up as soon as you get into a car is one of the smartest decisions you can make. It also happens to be the most effective ways to protect yourself in the event of a drunk driving accident. While there is only so much you can do to prevent getting hit, in many cases wearing your seatbelt can mean the difference between an injury accident and a fatality.
Maintain a Safe Distance
If you witness erratic driving, or a car swerving in and out of traffic, chances are pretty good that you’ve encountered drunk driver on the road. It’s best to keep as much distance between your cars as possible. Maintain a distance of several car lengths behind the driver, note the license plate, and when safe, call local law enforcement to report the driver.
Take Extra Care at Intersections
Impaired drivers often fail to stop at intersections. Be sure to look both ways before crossing traffic and yield to any oncoming traffic at a green light or a stop sign.
Car Accidents Don’t Just Happen – Someone is at Fault
As a Kansas City car accident lawyer I’ve helped thousands of injured people, both locally and across the country, reach settlements in their cases. Since I deal with auto accident lawsuits every day, I know exactly what to do to quickly and effectively begin litigation. As a highly experienced car accident attorney, I’ll address all the liability or negligence issues in the accident to prove who was at fault and build a solid case on your behalf so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.