[profileleft][/profileleft]We have come to the time of year when people tend to relax and revel a bit. The holiday season is always a time of fun with colleagues, friends and family. Most people find themselves quite busy in terms of their social calendars. This is a time for people to have fun. It’s also a time when people need to be extremely careful. Drunk driving, drugged driving and driving while otherwise impaired are problems that usually get worse as the calendar year draws to a close.
Not coincidentally, December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Gomez Trial Attorneys would like to help raise the awareness of the dangers of driving while impaired, particularly during this festive time.
Below you’ll find some information regarding DUI statistics, DUI crash statistics, some ideas for avoiding this mistake and some links to services that can help you if you feel as though you are out of options.
DUI Statistics In the United States
Advocacy groups and other concerned parties have spent billions of dollars and countless hours trying to lower the number of people who drive while impaired in the United States. Some of these campaigns are making a positive difference. The Ad Council has been running campaigns since 1983 that are designed to prevent drunk driving. The most famous of these campaigns includes the slogan, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.” Since these campaigns have launched, more than two-thirds of Americans have stated that they have tried to prevent someone from driving after consuming alcohol. Other groups such as MADD have also played an integral part in preventing drunk driving. There is no way to know exactly how many DUI accidents were prevented and how many lives were saved. It’s safe to assume that there are almost certainly many in number.
Despite these noble efforts, drunk and drugged driving continue to be enormous problems in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, approximately 1.5 million people in the United States are still arrested every year on suspicion of driving under the influence of some form of intoxicant. Unfortunately, according to DoSomething.org, a person will drive an average of 80 times while impaired before being arrested.
Given the realities of driving under the influence in the United States, far too many people are involved in DUI accidents on an annual basis. Many of these crashes lead to serious injuries and fatalities. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC:
- 9,967 people died in car accidents involving at least one alcohol-impaired driver in 2014.
- This number accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States that year.
- Drugs other than alcohol were factors in 16 percent of all traffic accidents that year.
- 20 percent of children killed in car accidents in 2014 died in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
California and San Diego DUI Accident Statistics
The CDC also breaks down DUI accidents by state. According to the agency:
- More than 1,000 people per year died in California DUI accidents between 2003 and 2012.
- This constitutes approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities.
- Males were more than three times as likely as females to lose their lives in DUI crashes.
- 1.8 percent of Californians admitted to drinking after driving too much in the previous 30 days.
In addition, law enforcement in California arrested more than 214,000 people on suspicion of DUI in 2015. More than 1,000 San Diego DUI accidents took place in 2015 as well. Clearly, driving under the influence remains a serious danger in the area.
Ideas For Avoiding Driving Under the Influence
In most cases, some basic planning can help you avoid driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other intoxicants. Especially during the holiday season, if you are going to be out somewhere and it’s possible that you could consume alcohol, consider the following steps:
- Designate a sober driver – This may seem overly simple and almost cliché. However, the bottom line is sober drivers make a difference in terms of avoiding crashes, injuries and fatalities.
- Arrange for transportation – Given all of the new ride-sharing options available, you should think about taking advantage of at least one of them. You can also call a taxi cab.
- Plan on staying over – If you’re going to be consuming alcohol at a party, check to see if staying overnight is an option as opposed to attempting to drive home.
- Reserve a hotel room nearby – While it may seem expensive, several studies indicate that a DUI conviction in California can lead to a total cost of more than $20,000, and that assumes the driver was not in an accident. A hotel room is a much more economical choice.
Overall, you need to do what’s necessary to avoid drinking and driving. Drivers should consider these steps regardless of time of year. National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is a time for particular focus. This is when the temptation to drive when you shouldn’t will likely arise at least once if not more often.
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month – Outlets For Help
If you don’t plan ahead and you find yourself facing the possibility of talking yourself into driving home when you shouldn’t during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, you still have other potential options. Organizations are offering designated driver programs that will help people avoid making a terrible mistake. Options for this type of help in San Diego include:
Be My DD
Details: A driver takes you home in your own vehicle
Hours – 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 6 a.m. New Year’s Day
Details: AAA offers a one-way free tow for a vehicle owner up to 7 miles to owner’s home.
Please do what you can to avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if you are impaired. It’s simply not worth the risks involved.
How San Diego DUI Accident Lawyers Can Help
Unfortunately, even if you take all necessary precautions and celebrate the holidays responsibly, you cannot control the decisions and actions of others. People will be injured or worse in DUI accidents in San Diego and across the United States during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
If this happens to you or someone you love, contact a San Diego drunk driving accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.