Despite the limitations of the current global health crisis, people are still going out to celebrate the holidays. Friends still gather for fun and merriment. Roads are still going to be filled with cars of families visiting relatives. Even if bars have yet to reopen, people will still drink alcohol while celebrating with loved ones. So, yes, drunk driving is still a major issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gathers holiday drunk driving data every year. According to its records, drunk driving accounts for over 30% of the fatal crashes during the holiday season, with around 6,000 cases from 2010 to 2018. Even if authorities have made it clear time and again that drinking and driving is dangerous and therefore illegal, many people continue to do it. So, these figures are not expected to change anytime soon.
If you plan to party or drive to visit relatives this Christmas, the best thing to do to avoid becoming part of the statistics is to plan everything ahead of time. You wouldn’t want to spend your holidays stressing out over DUI charge penalties, would you? Here are the DUI laws in California from Wikipedia.
Here are vital holiday drunk driving facts you need to ponder before taking your car out on the road for some fun and celebration.
Even if it’s the most wonderful time of the year, drunk driving policies remain the same throughout the United States in the Christmas season. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher will still get you charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
From November (Thanksgiving) to January (New Year), many people admit that they consume more alcohol than usual. Some are given several days off from office work while others drink simply because they want to celebrate.
The holidays are also when people who do not usually drink alcohol or have a low tolerance for alcoholic beverages break their own rules and drink. On the other hand, serious drinkers tend to drink more, especially when they see everyone around them, drinking and having fun.
Additionally, this year, more people are expected to increase alcohol consumption over the holidays because of isolation-related stress.
More or less 30 persons are killed every day – or one American every 48 minutes – because of drunk driving. During the holidays, the number significantly increases. The weeks between Christmas and New Year are usually the most crucial periods.
Some people argue in their defense that drinking a small amount of alcohol is not bad; that they can still drive safely. The NHTSA says otherwise. Even if you had only one bottle of alcohol, your ability to drive a motor vehicle is still impaired, and you can yet be charged with a DUI offense.
While it’s true that alcohol’s effects start to diminish after an hour or two, this is a case-to-case basis. There are other factors to consider, such as how much drink you’ve had, your hydration and metabolism level, weight, stress or tiredness level, and if you ate or not before drinking. Even if you stop drinking an hour or two before driving, you’re still not guaranteed to be sober and safe.
Although California law state’s the Blood Alcohol ContentBAC limit to .08 and higher, your body starts feeling the effects of alcohol early on, even before you display signs of intoxication. In fact, when your blood alcohol concentration level is.05, you shouldn’t be driving anymore as your physical and mental skills are already impaired.
Not all people show symptoms of intoxication.
Holiday weather is harsh, the wintry cold winds can bite, and the roads can be slippery and hazardous. It is an already dangerous situation made even riskier because of drunk driving.
According to statistics from the NHTSA Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool or FIRST, drivers aged 25 to 34 made up 25% of the total holiday drunk driving fatalities from 2010-2018. This was followed by drivers aged 35 to 44 years old (17%) and the 21-24 and 45-54-year-old drivers (both at 15%).
When you are caught driving under the influence during the holidays, the first thing you should do is inform your DUI lawyer. Inform the arresting officer that your attorney will be helping you with the process.
Although the laws vary from state-to-state, DUI violations, regardless of when they were committed, are often referred to the courts. Depending on the severity of your offense, the courts can require you to serve time in prison, do community service, and join DUI programs or classes.