The holiday season can be a great time to celebrate with family and friends. Between holiday parties, family gatherings, days off from work and New Year's celebrations, there will be plenty of opportunities to participate in the revelry. However, there is also a darker side to these holiday celebrations -- they're associated with a significant spike in car accidents, mostly due to an increase in drunk driving.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drunk driving is a factor in approximately 40% of all traffic fatalities between Christmas and New Year's. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that roughly 300 Americans die in drunk driving accidents each year during the Christmas/New Year's week. These figures are very alarming, and they underscore the importance of being safe and staying sober when driving during the holidays.
Reasons for the Increase in Drunk Driving over the Holidays
There are several factors causing drunk driving to increase over the holiday season:
- Holiday parties create situations where people who don't often drink a lot and have a low tolerance are consuming larger than normal quantities of alcohol. These people often get behind the wheel and drive home from holiday parties.
- Individuals with more serious drinking problems also tend to increase their alcohol consumption because others around them are drinking as well.
- Many individuals have a lot of time off from work over the holidays, creating opportunities to go out and drink that normally don't occur during a typical work week.
- New Year's Eve is one of the single biggest drinking nights of the year, resulting in a large percentage of people becoming extremely intoxicated and making poor decisions.
It's not surprising that these factors have produced some alarming trends:
- 16% of adults admit to drinking more than usual during the holiday season
- 22% of individuals attending work holiday parties feel pressured to drink
- 50% of people say alcohol plays a role in their family's holiday gatherings
- 51% of drunk drivers admit that they drink more during the holidays compared to the rest of the year
- 96% of adults either showed up to work hung over after a holiday party or know someone who did
Avoiding Drunk Driving Accidents over the Holidays
At the Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C., we want you to enjoy this holiday season, and we encourage you to do so in a safe manner. There's nothing wrong with having a few drinks at your holiday celebrations as long as you don't get behind the wheel of a car afterwards.
Make sure you take the following steps to avoid driving drunk accidents during the holidays:
- Appoint a designated driver to get people home.
- If you notice someone at your holiday gathering who is planning on driving after drinking, take their keys away and call them a cab.
- If no one is willing to be designated driver, plan on making alternative arrangements to get home. Public transportation is always a safe way to travel over the holidays. Taxis and services such as Uber and Lyft will also help you get home safely.
- If you're hosting a holiday party, consider allowing guests to spend the night if they become too intoxicated to drive home.
- If you're driving, be on the lookout for erratic behavior from other drivers on the road which may indicate that they are intoxicated. This can include swerving, driving recklessly, or making unpredictable decisions. Maintain a safe following distance from these drivers in order to avoid a collision if their actions become unexpectedly dangerous.
Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. Can Help if You're Injured by a Drunk Driver
While it's important to take precautions and be responsible over the holiday season, it's impossible to control the actions of everyone sharing the road with you. Drunk driving accidents will happen over the holiday season even if you do everything possible to avoid them. If you're injured in one of these car accidents, the attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. will fight aggressively to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Please contact the Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. using the form on this page or call 928-778-2660 today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Prescott, Cottonwood and throughout the surrounding areas of Arizona.