Holiday drinking and driving dangers abound

As the holidays approach, Ohio residents should learn about the risks of drunk driving accidents and what to do if involved in one.

It is no surprise that data supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that the holiday time results in a rise in the number of traffic accidents and deaths attributed to drunk driving. Drivers in Ohio and around the nation share this risk and its related consequences.

The numbers tell the story

To illustrate the level of risk that all people face during this time, it can be helpful to look at some of the data that the NHTSA offers. The following is based upon national information:

  • In 2005, 34 lives were lost on average each day in drunk driving accidents over the 25 December dates classified as non-holidays.
  • In the same year, that number rose to 46 lives per day over the Christmas holiday.
  • Also in the same year, the number rose even further to 55 lives lost per day over the New Year holiday.
  • Impaired driving caused 28 percent of the deaths in automotive accidents over the non-holiday dates during each December between 2001 and 2005.
  • Impaired driving caused 40 percent of the deaths in automotive accidents over the Christmas and New Year holiday dates between 2001 and 2005.

The NHTSA also notes that younger drivers can have an even greater risk of being involved in drunk driving accidents that cause serious injury or wrongful death to victims. The 2007 records for Ohio show that 200 fatalities resulted from crashes involving drivers between the ages of 21 and 24. In 34 percent of those cases, the drivers were impaired by alcohol.

Ohio drivers beware

Mothers Against Drunk Driving also tracks information about fatal car accidents and drunk driving incidents. Out of a total of 12,252 impaired driving accidents in Ohio in 2012, 7,386 personal injuries and 385 deaths occurred. Those 385 deaths represent an increase of 24 percent over the deaths from the prior year.

From the NHTSA, it is noted that in 2012, more than 34 percent of all traffic accident fatalities happened in accidents involving alcohol. For Franklin County, the situation is even more severe, as the fatality rate for every 100,000 people was 33. That rate was for alcohol BAC of .08 or higher.

Options for victims and loved ones

The sad reality is that drunk driving accidents will happen and are more frequent during peak holiday times. This means that all drivers and family members should be prepared to get help if they or someone they love is involved in such a crash. Contacting an attorney promptly is a recommended course of action.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury