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Promote Safe Driving During National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

December marks the end of the year, and during this time, many people celebrate the holidays irresponsibly and travel long distances as well. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and it is important to be mindful about safety and the wellbeing of others during this time.

Impaired driving is a major and deadly issue.  Although statistics have shown that impaired driving crashes and fatalities have lessened over the past few decades, they still account for over 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths every year. On average, 29 people die every day from impaired driving in the United States.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, fatal car accidents rates slightly increase as well as pedestrian accidents. A pedestrian accident can be caused by a drunk or drugged driver, or the pedestrian may wander into the street if they are extremely intoxicated.

Impaired Driving Statistics

Almost 70 percent of impaired driving deaths are caused by those whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Driving under the influence (DUI) is extremely dangerous and leads to severe penalties. In Delaware, most DUI arrests consist of first-time offenders. Over 75 percent of DUIs are males, and the age range is between 25 to 44 years old. Also, over 66 percent of arrests involve offenders with high BAC levels of 0.13 and above.

Also, DUI arrests happen more frequently on the weekend days. Additionally, New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers.

What are the Penalties of Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Also, it is illegal for a driver under 21 years old to have any BAC level. First-time offenders do not get any leniency either; one DUI charge can drastically change one’s future. The penalties for drunk driving include the following:

  • In Delaware, DUI fines can exceed $6,000.
  • Driver’s license suspension for a significant period of time.
  • Higher insurance premiums or loss of insurance.
  • Jail, depending on the circumstances and the state.
  • Drug and alcohol counseling.

DUI fines and penalties will likely increase following additional offenses, including much stricter jail times and fines. Other charges can be incurred if an accident happened and involved major injuries and significant property damage.

Is Drugged Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

Drugged driving is just as devastating as drunk driving. Drugged driving accounts for 20 percent of car accidents in the United States, with an average close to 7,000 deaths each year. Also, it is substantially more difficult to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs because there are not many available tests to make that determination.

Younger drivers are more susceptible to drugged driving than any other demographic. Moreover, from 1999 to 2010, marijuana-related car accident rates have tripled. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 60 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Marijuana can slow a driver’s response time or impair one’s judgement, but it is not the only drug that can cause an accident. Drugs, like cocaine or methamphetamines, can cause aggressive driving as well. Sedatives can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Prescription drugs can cause dangerous driving conditions too. Mixing alcohol with drugs is even more deadly.

How can I Prevent Drunk and Drugged Driving?

Communities and law enforcement alike must join together to help prevent impaired driving. Alongside DUI laws, which have significantly lowered drunk driving statistics, there are other life-saving tactics, such as sobriety checkpoints and instructional programs in schools. An ignition interlock device may be installed in the vehicle of a DUI offender as well. An ignition interlock device is a tool that measures a driver’s BAC level and prevents the car from starting if their BAC level is too high.

Some ways to prevent a drunk or drugged driving accident around the holidays include:

  • If one is going to a party or celebration and there is drinking, one should make sure to designate someone who is not drinking as the designated driver.
  • Take the keys of anyone that is intoxicated.
  • If hosting a holiday party, enlist the help of a taxi or rideshare service.
  • Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol and driving.
  • If a driver is acting suspiciously on the road, like weaving in and out of traffic, swaying onto the shoulder, or exhibiting any other stranger behaviors, then contact the police right away.

If a person is involved in a drunk or drugged driving accident, they should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer will ensure the victim receives appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Clients Injured by Drunk or Drugged Drivers

There are many celebrated holidays in the winter months, which creates dangerous situations for drivers. If you were hurt by an impaired driver, speak to one of our respected Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. immediately. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers protect the rights of car accident victims, and help them obtain compensation. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation and more information. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.