Thanksgiving, the holidays, and New Year's Day will be here before we know it. It's common for Vancouver-area residents to unwind and have some drinks during the holiday season but it becomes a problem when someone who has been drinking decides to get behind the wheel.
Most people are well aware of the risks of drinking and driving but the possibility of causing an accident, sadly, is a risk some people celebrating the holidays are still willing to take. Between Thanksgiving and the new year, we can expect to see police working to keep drunk drivers off the road but they can't be everywhere at all times.
According to the latest available statistics released by the Washington Department of Transportation (WsDOT), 6,033 statewide crashes involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Approximately 237 of those crashes were fatal and 299 resulted in serious injuries.
Holiday drunk driving facts and figures
An infographic released by Scram Systems compiled holiday crash data from several sources including Responsibility.org, the Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers, AAA, NHTSA, USDOT, NIAAA, CDC, and IIHS.
Here are the facts and figures:
- During the holiday season:
- Thirty-four percent of alcohol-involved crash fatalities occur on Thanksgiving.
- Thirty-two percent occur on Christmas.
- Thirty-six percent occur on New Year's Day.
- About 25,000 injuries occur between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day due to drunk driving.
- In 2017, about 885 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes during the holiday season.
- Seventy percent of all crash fatalities involving alcohol-impairment during the holiday season involve drivers with BAC levels of 0.15 percent or more.
- Sixteen percent of adults admit that they drink more than usual during the holiday season.
- Twenty-two percent say that they have felt pressured to drink at holiday work parties.
- Fifty percent say alcohol is a part of family gatherings.
- Ninety-six percent have attended work the day after a party hungover, or know someone who did.
- One-third of all December traffic fatalities occur between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Preventing drunk driving accidents
Preventing drunk driving accidents is simple and only requires some planning ahead of time. Drivers who are going to attend a party or other holiday celebration should be prepared to do the following:
- Designate a sober driver.
- Find a place to spend the night that doesn't require driving.
- Call a taxi or rideshare.
- If an event is within walking distance, walk home.
Alcohol-impairment impacts driver's judgment, motor functions, reaction time and muscle control. Drivers should also be aware that alcohol-impairment can still happen at a BAC level lower than 0.08 percent. For example:
- At a BAC between 0.02-0.04 percent, drivers may experience relaxation and some slight impairment.
- Between 0.05-0.07 percent, judgment, attention, depth perception, and control can be affected.
If you or a loved one is injured in a crash with an impaired driver this holiday season, don't hesitate to consult with an experienced Vancouver car accident attorney. The Scott Law Firm, PLLC has seen the devastation drunk drivers cause. Our legal team is dedicated to the injured and their families pursue the justice they deserve.
To find out how we can help, contact us online and schedule your free consultation.