Understanding the dangers of impaired driving can help keep Mainers safe this holiday season
Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, two of December's most celebrated dates, also rank among the most dangerous. The end-of-year festivities are associated with more fatal drunk driving accidents than any other holiday period.
In 2021, more than 13,380 people died in crashes involving alcohol, and thousands of others were injured. To say it another way, drunk driving was a factor in more than 30 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths that year. In December 2021 alone, 1,013 people were killed by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the United States, the month of December is designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to underscore the significance of this issue.
Impaired driving risk factors
Recognizing the annual surge in incidents of drunk driving and the associated risks promotes responsible choices, such as opting for sober transportation, and ultimately reduces impaired driving accidents. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National Impaired Driving Prevention Month campaign further supplements this awareness by providing insightful research and statistics regarding holiday drunk driving. Here are some highlights:
- Among those most at risk of an impaired driving accident in December, men and new drivers are near the top.
- Male drivers were nearly four times more likely to be alcohol-impaired and involved in a fatal car accident than females in December.
- Young drivers, ages 21-34, account for the highest percentage - 27 percent - of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in December.
Tips to avoid drunk driving this holiday season
To prevent drunk driving crashes and ensure road safety during the holiday season, it is crucial for drivers to remain vigilant and follow these tips:
- Plan Ahead and Designate a Sober Driver: Before heading to a holiday party or celebration, plan for a sober driver who will ensure everyone's safety. Knowing in advance that there is a designated driver helps prevent any temptation to drive under the influence.
- Avoid Driving While Impaired: It should go without saying, but never get behind the wheel of your vehicle if you've consumed alcohol. Drunk driving poses a severe risk to yourself and others on the road.
- Utilize Alternative Transportation: If you find yourself impaired, consider using alternative modes of transportation. This could involve calling a taxi, utilizing public transit, using a rideshare service like Uber, or reaching out to a sober friend or family member to pick you up. The priority is always to choose a safe and sober way to get home.
- Stay Where You Are and Sleep It Off: If none of the previous options are available, it's safer to stay at your current location until you are sober enough to drive responsibly. Resting and allowing time for the effects of alcohol to wear off is a responsible choice.
- "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk:" This timeless adage holds true – if you suspect a friend is considering driving while impaired, take their keys and prevent them from making a dangerous decision. Your intervention could save lives.
- Responsible Hosting: If you are hosting a holiday party, take on the role of a responsible host. Encourage your guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver before the festivities begin. Offer non-alcoholic beverage options to ensure that everyone has a choice besides alcoholic drinks. Lastly, make sure all your guests depart with a sober driver to guarantee their safety on the road.
The importance of responsible decision-making and prioritizing sober transportation cannot be overstated when it comes to avoiding the dangers of drunk driving.
Annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest
Whether it's offering an impaired friend a sober ride, designating a driver before going out, or simply being a good example of responsible alcohol consumption, we can all contribute to drunk driving accident prevention.
At The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we help promote safe driving among Maine teenagers by organizing our annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest. Open to graduating high school seniors in Maine, the contest encourages the use of art to communicate the dangers of drinking and driving, speeding, and distracted driving. Over the past two decades, we've awarded over $180,000 in prizes, including a new laptop for first-place winners and valuable prizes for all participants.
A complete set of rules and all past winning entries can be found at arrivealivecreativecontest.com. The deadline for the 2024 contest is May 3. Entries can be mailed, delivered in person, or submitted online. Last year's winning entries came from high schools in Bangor, Buckfield, Dirigo, Freeport, Greely, Gorham, Mid-Coast School of Technology, Wells, Winthrop, and York.
If you were hit by a drunk driver in Maine, our law firm can demand justice and accountability
Too many people still don't understand that alcohol, drugs, and driving don't mix. Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, contact our Maine car accident lawyers to review your potential legal options. Our accident attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle even the most complex claims. In over 45 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has helped more than 25,000 injured or disabled Mainers get the justice they deserve. Find out what we can do for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.