Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Holidays, Drinking, and Driving – Avoid The Consequences!
Driving while intoxicated is a problem that causes auto accidents every day. During the holiday season, the number of alcohol-related accidents increases dramatically. The holidays are a time when family and social gatherings that include drinking are abundant. It is also a time when auto accident lawyers see more cases involving alcohol because the incidence of driving while under the influence of alcohol increases significantly.
To be safe when driving on the highways this holiday season, drivers and party goers must take the drinking of any alcoholic beverages into consideration. According to accident attorneys, all that is necessary to keep these fun times from turning tragic is a little planning prior to the party.
Increased Holiday Alcohol-Related Accidents
Every holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years, the incidence of alcohol-related traffic accidents rises. It is a festive time of year to celebrate with families and friends - and alcohol is usually a part of these celebrations. TxDOT reports that during the 2013-14 holiday season alone, there were over 2,300 alcohol-related accidents on Texas roadways that resulted in over 750 serious injuries and 92 fatalities.1 As many as 1,200 fatalities attributed to alcohol occur per year on our nation’s highways during the holiday season. Crash statistics from prior years show that over 50 percent of all Christmas and New Year's Day traffic fatalities are attributed to alcohol.3 Sadly, fatalities like these do not have to happen and are most often preventable.
Parties without The Risk
Auto accident lawyers advise that DWI/DUI is serious in two ways: it can result in criminal charges and can also lead to accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities. It is especially tragic when alcohol-related driving is responsible for fatalities during an otherwise festive and joyous time of the year. Accident attorneys suggest that the dangerous risk of driving while intoxicated can be avoided by following the planning tips listed below:
- Stop Drinking Early - With some planning, it is possible for a person to enjoy a few drinks early in the evening if adequate time is allowed to become sober. Eating before drinking alcohol and drinking water afterward helps accelerate this process - only if the drinking is not excessive.
- Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages - There is a large selection of non-alcoholic beverages to consume. Choosing virgin drinks allows party goers to enjoy the fun, yet stay alert and sober for the drive home.
- Utilize P.A.S.S. - The TxDOT P.A.S.S. (Person Assigned to Stay Sober) program suggests the idea of a designated driver is frequently misunderstood and ineffective as a result. Many people interpret a designated driver to be the “least drunk” participant, when that person could still be drunk enough to be impaired. The better choice is to select one person who does not drink at all and remains sober.2
- Call A Taxi or Sleep Over - When attending festivities at the home of a friend or relative, ask to sleep over if sobriety is questionable when the party is over. At a public location, the cost of a cab ride is much less expensive than the risks involved when driving under the influence.
It is great to celebrate with family and friends during the holiday season; however, it is not great to drive after consuming alcohol. To avoid auto accidents and the need to retain accident attorneys, plan ahead this holiday season. Christmas and New Year's are not when you want to find yourself discussing a DUI/DWI crash with auto accident lawyers. Stay sober and safe, drink responsibly - and have a happy holiday season!
2 - Texas Hospitality Association: Holiday Pass Campaign