In an average year, 30 million Americans will drive drunk, and an additional 10 million will drive while under the influence of illegal drugs. The results? Someone is killed in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes, and someone is injured every two minutes.
But your risk of a crash isn’t the same all year round. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is considered the most dangerous due to a significant increase in impaired driving during this time.
In December 2018, 839 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – 108 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve alone!
And it’s not just a matter of putting your life or others’ at risk – drunk driving accidents are more likely to cause severe injuries that cause significant pain, rack up huge medical bills, and leave victims unable to work to pay those bills or their other living expenses. To put it into perspective, 83 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in Indiana in 2018, while 1,532 people were injured! These are numbers that should be enough to startle anyone.
That’s why December has been designated National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (sometimes called National Impaired Driving Prevention Month) to raise awareness of this dangerous seasonal trend so we can do more to prevent future injuries and deaths.
Be Knowledgeable About Drunk and Drugged Drivers: Learn the Stats
- 1 in every 3 drivers in fatal crashes involving alcohol are between the ages of 25-34.
- 3 in every 4 drivers in fatal crashes involving alcohol are male.
- In 72.2% of fatal crashes in Indiana involving alcohol, at least one of the drivers had a BAC of .15 (nearly twice the legal limit) or higher.
- Indiana’s rate of drunk driving fatalities is 3.4 per 100,000 drivers, higher than the national average of 3.2.
- Drivers under the influence of marijuana are roughly twice as likely to be responsible for a deadly crash or to be killed in a crash than drivers who haven’t used drugs or consumed alcohol.
- Illegal drugs are not the only drugs that impact driving: In 2016, nearly one in five drivers who drove under the influence tested positive for opioids (commonly prescribed as painkillers).
- In a 2013-2014 survey, one in every five drivers driving at night on a weekend tested positive for at least one drug.
- The most commonly abused substances responsible for vehicle crashes are alcohol, followed by marijuana, then cocaine, then prescription medications such as opioids and sedatives.
Attending a Holiday Gathering (or Hosting One)? Here’s How You Can Play It Smart, and Safe This December
As a guest, if you plan to drink, don’t overindulge. Allow at least one hour between alcohol drinks, and switch to one non-alcoholic beverage between each alcoholic drink. Even one alcoholic drink can make it less safe to drive in ways you might not recognize, such as slowed reaction times or impaired judgment (for example, buzzed drivers who are under the legal limit may still be more likely to speed, make sudden lane changes, or demonstrate other dangerous driving behaviors).
Furthermore, never mix alcohol with drugs, even prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Whenever possible, plan to have a way home without driving yourself – designate a non-drinking driver, use public transit, or use a taxi or rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.
As a host, make sure to serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, such as water, soda, juice, or even coffee. If providing mixed drinks such as punch, opt for juice rather than soda as a mixer – carbonated beverages can cause alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream faster. Furthermore, you should stop serving alcoholic drinks at least one hour before the party ends.
Make sure all your guests have a safe ride home, even if that means taking keys at the door. Be prepared with numbers of local taxi services in your area.
Injured by a Drunk or Drugged Driver? You Deserve Compensation
Accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers are always a tragedy, because these types of injuries and deaths are 100% preventable. We as a society need to do more to take responsibility for the harm we can cause others by choosing to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. Part of how we can do that is by holding those who do so, and go on to harm others, liable for the damages they cause.
If you or someone you love was harmed by a drunk or drugged driver, let our Indianapolis drunk driving accident attorneys know. We want to hear about how your crash has impacted your ability to work and your quality of life, and get you compensation for your accident-related expenses and pain and suffering. Call us today for a free case review.