A Car Accident Lawyer Explains What to Know
Tragically, too many people in Indiana like to celebrate the holidays by drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car. The consequences are deadly for hundreds of Americans every holiday season, yet far too many drivers still decide to put themselves and others at risk by drinking and driving.
The Human Toll of Drunk Driving
While alcohol impairs the judgment, concentration, and reaction time of motorists, drunk driving is still a problem on our roads.
That’s why during the 2021 holiday season, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with law enforcement on a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The effort runs from Dec. 15 through Jan. 1.
Disturbing statistics from the NHSTA show:
- 837 people died in drunk driver crashes in December 2019.
- The 2019 Christmas holiday period saw more drunk-driving-related fatalities (210) than any other holiday period during that year.
- About one-third of all crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers.
- 10,142 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2019 (one person every 52 minutes).
- Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes, 21% to 14%, respectively.
- Among children 14 and younger, 19% (204) of traffic fatalities in 2019 resulted from alcohol-related crashes.
Even if you are not involved in a fatal accident, a DUI conviction is costly. For example:
- The average DUI can set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates (25% in Indiana), and more.
- The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes (based on 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available), is $44 billion annually.
- You face jail time.
- You can lose your driver’s license and your vehicle
There is nothing wrong with celebrating the holidays as long as you have a plan and as long as you do so responsibly. That means thinking ahead. If you expect to drink, make arrangements for a sober driver to return you home safely. If it is your turn to be the designated driver, refrain from consuming even a single drink. Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft can also be an option.
- Check to see if your community offers a sober ride program.
- Head off tragedy by reporting apparent drunk drivers to law enforcement.
- Show you care by taking the keys from a friend who has been drinking.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer if You’ve Been Injured
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you face many obstacles. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be unable to work and have to watch as your bills pile up.
The insurance company, which has a financial incentive to pay you as little as possible, may offer you a settlement that might seem fair at first glance, yet is far short of what you need to actually cover your losses.
At Vaughan & Vaughan, we have been fighting for the rights of crash victims in Indiana since 1913. We have experience successfully holding drunk drivers accountable for their reckless actions and recovering the compensation our clients need and deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Indiana car accident attorney. We have six locations, including offices in Indianapolis and Lafayette.