The holiday season is a time of celebrations and gatherings with friends and family. And of course, the office parties too. Many of these festivities involve alcoholic beverages with party goers getting into their cars afterwards to drive home. This makes the risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident much higher than at other times of the year. As it is, every day in the United States nearly 29 people lose their lives in alcohol-related car accidents.
Thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination – all of these functions are affected by alcohol consumption and all of them are vital to driving a car safely. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal in the U.S., but even low BAC levels can be dangerous for driving. Roughly 20 percent of all the deaths from alcohol-impaired crashes in 2016 involved drivers with low (.01-.07) BAC levels.
At a BAC of .02 percent, drivers may have loss of judgment and diminished visual function. At .05 BAC, coordination is reduced, making it difficult to respond to emergency situations. The driver also has lowered alertness and difficulty steering.
Add night driving conditions, winter weather, and fatigue to alcohol impairment and you have a recipe for a life-threatening car or pedestrian accident. Drunk drivers are often unaware of their decreased ability to function and may drive too fast, take little notice of their surroundings, and change lanes suddenly without warning.
Those who drink and drive put their own lives at risk, as well as those of their passengers and innocent motorists and pedestrians. Alcohol levels in the blood decrease only over time. Coffee and having a full stomach are not effective in reducing the risks of driving under the influence. Those celebrating the holiday season should take the following precautions:
Law enforcement is fully aware of the increase in drunk driving accidents during the holidays and will be out in force trying to get drunk drivers off the road. Sadly, only a small percentage of drunk drivers are caught, thus leaving the public vulnerable to their reckless actions. Victims of drunk driving accidents have the right to seek compensation for their injuries, including damages for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and in some cases, punitive damages.
Drunk drivers carelessly endanger their own lives and those of the people on the road around them. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, contact a dedicated West Chester car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. about seeking compensation for your injuries. An initial consultation is free, so call 610-565-3700 today or contact us online. We have convenient locations in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania to serve clients in Chester County and Delaware County.