Andy Williams echoes the feelings of many as he croons, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And while there are indeed marshmallows for toasting, it’s the “parties for hosting” that you have to be careful of. Many holiday get-togethers involve alcoholic beverages. Students from the University of Miami, Florida International University and other higher ed institutions celebrating the end of the semester. Office parties. Friends who don’t see each other often enough meeting in the Wynwood area to reconnect. Families enjoying each other’s company (or maybe not so much). The occasion is often special enough that some people who don’t imbibe all year make an exception to have “one or two.” Whether or not you fall into one of these categories, they could describe the person driving the car on the Palmetto Expressway that’s heading right toward you.
It’s the getting behind the wheel part of drinking that makes it so dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly one-third of all vehicle accident fatalities last December involved a drunk driver. More than half of 2015’s alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place in just ten states, one of which was Florida. While we all think (or hope) that it won’t happen to us, chances are high that most of us will be either directly or indirectly affected by DUI crash at some point in our lives.
Last December 30, a Cooper City man was like so many of us at the holidays, picking up family from Miami International Airport for a visit. On the way home with his mother, sister, and brother-in-law in the car, they were hit head-on near Miami Gardens Drive on I-95. The operator of the other vehicle had driven a dozen miles in the wrong direction before the crash, which resulted in her death as well as that of all four people in the other car and injuries to people in two additional cars. Toxicology reports later revealed that the wrong-way driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.189 percent, which is over twice the legal limit.
This holiday season when you are behind the wheel, always wear your seatbelt, put your phone away, obey speed limits, and drive sober. If you do choose to drink:
- Get a designated driver.
- Call a friend.
- Call a taxi or rideshare.
- Use public transportation.
- Call AAA – the Florida affiliate offers Tipsy Tow/Tow 2 Go from December 23 to January 2. Call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO
- Stay where you are.
Across the country, the legal limit for drunk driving is a BAC of 0.08, but impairment of visual functions, judgment, alertness, reasoning, and motor skills begins long before that level is attained. Even buzzed driving is drunk driving, and having “just a few” means you aren’t sober. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is simply never worth the risk.
Everyone at Stabinski Law wishes our community and Floridians everywhere a safe and peaceful end to the year. While we hope that the holiday season passes 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 New Year’s Eve car accidents, we encourage you to contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or filling out a free case evaluation form.