The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching multiple safe driving campaigns in partnership with local law enforcement agencies with hopes to deter impaired driving ahead of one of the busiest travel seasons in the United States – the holiday season and the time between Christmas and New Year.
The Deadliest Travel Season
According to NHTSA, the days after Thanksgiving are known for being the deadliest when it comes to impaired driving. The agency has two campaigns going on now through Jan. 1 – “Drive sober or get pulled over” and “Drive high, get a DUI.” Millions of travelers are expected to hit the roads and the skies this year as travel restrictions are lifted and health measures relating to the pandemic have relaxed.
DUI fatalities tend to surge during the holiday season. In December 2019, 837 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver, according to data collected by NHTSA. A total of 210 drunk driving-related fatalities were reported between Christmas Eve 2019 and the day after New Year’s 2020 alone, which is more than during any other holiday during 2019.
About one-third of all crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In 2019, 10,142 people were killed in DUI crashes, the NHTSA said. Based on that data, one person was killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash in the United States.
Tips to Stay Safe During the Holidays
As more and more drivers get on the road to visit family or friends, or just to take some time off with their loved ones, we all must remain cautious on the road and pay attention to our actions and behaviors. Here are just a few tips to make this holiday season a happy and safe one:
- Remember to plan ahead if you’ll be celebrating. Designate a sober driver to take you home if you plan to drink.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs. While recreational marijuana may be legal in California, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
- If you don’t have a designated driver, use rideshare, bus, or cab service.
- If you are hosting a holiday party and serving alcohol, do your part to make sure your guests are safe. Make sure your guests leave with sober drivers. Offer your couch to those who need to sober up before heading out.
- Serve plenty of food to slow the rate of alcohol consumption.
- Make sure you also offer alcohol-free beverage options.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses by filing a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced Orange County DUI victims’ lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.