In Kentucky, we have a long history of making and consuming bourbon. The craftsmanship and enjoyment of this spirit are part of our culture. But if not handled carefully, this can come with a heavy price: individuals who drive after consuming alcohol put themselves and others in danger of being injured or killed in collisions.

The number of drunk drivers on the road increases during the holiday season. Because people are celebrating with their families and friends, there tend to be more occasions at which alcohol is served. Because holiday visits often require families to travel out of town, many Americans find themselves traveling by car more than they normally do this time of year.

This holiday season, pledge to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by practicing responsible drinking and avoiding driving while intoxicated. Remember, you are not the only driver on the road. If you are involved in a collision with an intoxicated driver, you could potentially face life-changing injuries and the medical bills that can accompany them. If you or a member of your family is injured, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your losses through a car accident claim.

Dangers of Drinking and Driving: Findings from a Recent Study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gathers data about drunk driving incidents in the United States every year. In a recent study, it found that males are more likely than females to be killed in drunk driving accidents, with individuals between the ages of 21 and 34 at the highest risk. Compared to the national average of 1.9 percent, only 1.5 percent of Kentucky residents surveyed admitted to driving after knowingly drinking too much alcohol within the past 30 days. Other statistics gathered by the CDC include:

  • Approximately one third of traffic deaths in the United States are caused by drunk drivers;
  • Between 2003 and 2012, 2,041 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in Kentucky; and
  • The rates of drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths have decreased in recent years due to increased awareness of the danger drunk driving poses and the consequences of a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (DUI).

In Kentucky and every other state in the United States, it is illegal for an individual to drive if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher. For those driving commercial vehicles, the legal BAC is lower.

Drinking and Driving Increases During the Holidays

Individuals are on the road more, driving to friends’ and relatives’ homes for holiday parties and to shopping malls to purchase gifts for their loved ones. Simply by being on the road more, you are at an increased risk of being injured in a car accident. At many holiday gatherings, individuals tend to drink alcohol. You can see how the number of drunk drivers on the road increases around the winter holidays.

Tips for a Safe Holiday Season of Travel

  • Technology is your friend. Use ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to get yourself to and from holiday parties safely;
  • If you live in a more populated area, public transportation is another option to avoid drinking and driving. Ride a bus or a train to eliminate your need for finding a designated driver or abstaining from alcohol;
  • Take turns playing the role of designated driver with your friends and loved ones. Offer to stay sober to drive to one party, then ask another party goer to repay the courtesy at the next one;
  • If you are hosting a holiday party, offer your guest room and couch to any visitors who need them. By being a hospitable host, you can prevent drunk driving accidents;
  • If you see another driver on the road who appears to be under the influence of alcohol, stay as far away from that car as possible to avoid a collision. Signs that a driver could be impaired include sudden, frequent braking, driving at a speed significantly below the speed limit, failure to maintain his or her lane, and a failure to obey posted traffic signals. If possible, jot down or try to remember the car’s make, model, license plate number, and the direction in which the driver is going. Call the local police or state troopers to report the driver. By doing this, you can potentially save lives by having a drunk driver taken off the road.

Work with an Experienced Kentucky Car Accident Attorney

Drunk drivers can injure and even kill other motorists and pedestrians. This holiday season, plan your celebratory activities carefully. If you plan to drive, do not drink. If you plan to drink, do not drive. Coordinate with your friends and family members to make sure that everybody at the party has a safe ride home or a place to stay.

Even choosing not to drink and drive can not protect you from less conscientious individuals. If you are involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver this holiday season, seek medical attention for yourself and any other individuals involved in the accident. Once you have received appropriate treatment, contact an experienced Kentucky car accident attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury claim to recover monetary compensation for your damages.

At Becker Law Office, our team of experienced car accident attorneys is here to help you by answering your questions about the personal injury claim process and representing your claim, whether it goes to court or can be settled by the negligent driver’s insurance provider. Be an advocate for yourself and start working on your case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident.