It’s the holiday season, a time during which we are constantly bombarded by messages to not drive while drunk. There is no question that this message needs to be repeated and drummed into the psyches of each and every driver in this country. Driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is illegal under California law. In all states, the legal limit when it comes to blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent. However, a number of law enforcement agencies do successfully prosecute cases where the BAC is slightly lower that the legal limit, especially where there is evidence of impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs.
Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 32,675 fatalities reported as a result of traffic accidents in the United States in 2014. Nationwide, 31 percent of those traffic accident deaths have been attributed to driving under the influence of alcohol. California is slightly below the national average with 29 percent of accident deaths attributed to drunk driving. This may be due to the fact that we have stricter DUI laws here. Each year in the United States, 30 people die in DUI crashes, which amounts to one death every 51 minutes.
The holidays are a time when accident injuries and fatalities due to drunk driving see a sharp increase. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, about 52 percent of traffic accident fatalities during Christmas time and 57 percent during New Year’s are alcohol-related.
Preventing Terrible Tragedies
Both party hosts and partygoers can take a number of safety measures to prevent tragic DUI collisions during the holiday season. If you are a party host, don’t make booze the main attraction. Make food and nonalcoholic drinks available. Stop serving alcohol at least two hours before the party ends.
Make arrangements to have people sleep overnight. Consider renting a van for the night and providing a safe ride home for your guests, if possible. If you are attending a party, designate a driver to take you home safely. Contact a sober ride program in your area. You can even call a taxi or ridesharing service. There are a number of options. Driving drunk is not one of them. Please be safe this holiday season.