Not on Anyone's List: Drunk Driving Accidents Increase During the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us. Whether that fills you with glee, dread, or indifference, it doesn't change the fact that the number of drunk driving accidents go up this time of year. Starting on the day before Thanksgiving and ending on New Year's Day, the holiday season sees more drunk drivers than the rest of the year. People are always finding excuses to drink during the holidays. Unfortunately, they're also finding excuses to get behind the wheel.

The more a person drinks, the higher their blood alcohol concentration. This is different for each person. How many drinks a person can have while being under the legal limit of 0.08 is hard to calculate, considering that each drink has a different amount of alcohol in it and that factors such as weight and gender affect how a person metabolizes alcohol. The safest choice is to not drive at all, even if you've had just one. But the more a person's judgment is impaired, the more likely that person is to rationalize and think they're fine to drive.

Take Thanksgiving: The day before the big feast is arguably one of the deadliest days of the year. Recently dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving,” this day/night is often filled with heavy drinking as it officially kicks off the holiday season. Fueled by college students returning home and workers who haven’t had a day off since Labor Day, Blackout Wednesday is the beginning of a five-day period that has seen more than 400 fatalities attributed to alcohol-related road accidents.

Take Christmas: While Christmas Day doesn't generally see any statistically significant increase in DUI traffic incidents, Christmas Eve is another story. One sobering statistic shows a 33% increase in the number of DUI-related traffic stops on Christmas Eve, likely attributed to friends and/or co-workers overdoing it at their holiday parties. New Year's Eve stats show that approximately 42% of all accidents are due to driving while under the influence. The estimated total number of deaths caused by alcohol during the 2015 holiday season was 1,200.

Dating back to the mid-1900s, “tie one on” has been a slang term for getting drunk. In 1986, MADD decided to turn the phrase to its advantage as a reminder that drinking and driving are not a good pair. Using the literal tying of a red ribbon as a reminder that the two things don't mix, ribbons should be made visible anywhere party-goers will be.

In one of their most recognizable and longest-running campaigns, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is proudly celebrating 2016 as the 30th anniversary of its “Tie One On For Safety” program. Participants display a MADD red ribbon in an obvious location to remind people to pick a designated driver. MADD further advises that a non-drinking driver should be chosen before the party starts, to counteract the inevitable alteration in judgment later on. The group also asks people to host parties that don't offer alcohol – or at least offer plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives. Since social media is a grand stage for any message, MADD encourages people who plan on drinking their way through the season to use it to reach out and ask for a ride, or reach out and offer to drive anyone who will be needing a designated driver.

Here at Stabinski Law, we wish everyone a safe and enchanting holiday season. While we hope that the celebrations take place without incident, we are here if you need us. We have helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities, and remedies. We strive to maintain client satisfaction and a track record of success in every case we handle. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you, or you want to learn more about Christmas DWI accidents, we encourage you to contact us by calling 305-964-8644 or filling out a free case evaluation form.

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