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The Risk of Drunk-Driving Fatalities is Greatest During the Holidays

While the season to celebrate is upon us, our Chicago personal injury attorneys want to take the time to remind people to be especially cautious on New Year’s Eve.

Though spirits may be bright, devastatingly 2007 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that drunk-driving related fatal crashes rise significantly in the two-week period encompassing Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Frighteningly enough, that’s not even counting non-fatal accidents in which the drivers and passengers – and even pedestrians – may be devastatingly injured but not killed. Statistics show that the number of these type of accidents is also increased during the time period surrounding New Year’s Eve.

Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, he or she is accepting responsibility for the safety of everyone else on the road. Accidents can and do happen, but when a driver’s negligent behaviors or careless actions lead to the injury or death of another person, the negligent driver must be held accountable. These situations may lead to Illinois personal injury lawsuits and the driver who caused the harm may be made to pay damages resulting from the injuries that arise.

Fortunately, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells us that the number of drunk-driving related incidents have significantly decreased since the 1970’s; according to research done on behalf of the Institute, when comparing the Blood Alcohol Content percentages of drivers stopped in 1973 to those of drivers stopped in 1996, the rates of intoxicated drivers was nearly half in 1996 of what it had been in 1973.

Nevertheless, we must be extremely careful, especially around this time of year. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or M.A.D.D. has estimated that more than 11,700 people died in drunk-diving related accidents in 2008 alone.

So what can we do to stay safe?

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys offer some tips for being safe on New Year’s Eve:

• Don’t drink and drive! It’s never a good idea to drink and drive, but when your driving is impaired, and the odds of other drivers on the road being impaired is increased, it is more than double the recipe for disaster.
• If at all possible, stay off the roads. Even if you drive sober or designate a sober driver, drunk drivers are still a danger to all other vehicles on the road. Try to get where you need to be, and if at all possible, stay in one place • If you do need to go somewhere, make sure you have a sober, experienced driver to take you there. Public transportation, such as the el train, also provides a great alternative.

Please beware of the potential dangers, but have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!