New Year’s Eve May See More Drunk Drivers – Be Prepared!
It’s the holiday season once again, and there are a lot of things to be excited about. As plans are made for holiday parties and festivities, though, it’s important to plan a safe ride home, too.
Statistics show that while incidences of drunk driving are lower now than they once were, New Year’s Eve still sees many alcohol-related accidents in Arizona.
Drunk Driving Statistics
As people ring in the New Year, it’s not unusual for drinks to be part of the fun. Unfortunately, many people choose to get behind the wheel of a car after having a drink too many. While Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) states that fatalities caused by drunk drivers have fallen 50% since 1980, people are still killed every year by drunk drivers.
In a study done by SafeAuto.com, there was a 71% increase in drug- and alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Eve compared to an average weekend night. Most of those accidents happened between 6 p.m. on December 31st and 6 a.m. on January 1st, just a twelve-hour period.
Studying the years between 2008 and 2012, SafeAuto.com also found that January 1st had the highest number of alcohol-related fatalities compared to any other day of the year, even other holidays. In 2013, a year that wasn’t included in the study, there were 140 deaths in alcohol-related accidents in the United States. On a typical day in the country, 28 people are killed in an alcohol-related crash.
While the statistics are gloomy, there is good news. In Phoenix, there are many other ways to get around on New Year’s Eve that can help keep everyone safe.
How to Stay Safe on New Year’s Eve
If you had a drink, even if you don’t feel intoxicated, finding another way home is the best way to avoid DUI charges and ensure you get home safely. In Phoenix and the surrounding area, there are so many ways to do this there’s really no excuse not to.
The golf carts that flood the streets in Phoenix and in Old Town Scottsdale are an affordable option for a ride home on New Year’s. These trips are often free, and will either take party-goers to their next stop, or all the way home. Top Notch Transportation, Bunny Rides, and Swift Rides are just a few of the companies offering this service.
Many bars in the area also offer their own transportation service. The Vig will be offering a shuttle bus to their sister restaurant in Uptown, and the club Afterlife will be offering free shuttles to the ASU dorms every half hour.
Those who want a ride but don’t want to abandon their vehicles overnight can call Tipsy Tow, a service offered by the Arizona branch of AAA. This service will give drivers and one of their friends a lift back home, and will tow their cars while doing it, too.
Of course, the old-fashioned way of getting home—by calling a taxi—is also a good option. Uber, a company that’s becoming more popular in Phoenix every day, will also be available on New Year’s Eve, but there will be a fee with any taxi or ridesharing service.
What to Do If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver
Making plans for a safe ride home isn’t always enough. The statistics don’t lie—there are still many drunk drivers on the road on New Year’s Eve. So what can you do if you are still involved in an accident with one of these drivers?
First and foremost, seek medical help. Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, there could be injuries that are difficult to detect, and it’s a good idea to have a doctor assess you as soon as possible after an accident. For those too injured to leave the scene, it’s best to call an ambulance.
Drunk drivers should always be reported to the police. Most drivers don’t like to file a report after a minor accident, but there is no such thing when an accident involves a drunk driver. The police will likely have the driver perform sobriety tests, and possibly suspend the person’s license.
However, even if a drunk driver is charged with DUI, it won’t help you. The driver will likely have to appear in criminal court and pay restitution to the state, but you won’t receive any compensation from those charges. You must seek compensation by filing a civil claim with the help of an attorney.
Arizona is an at-fault auto insurance state. When a person has been injured, he or she will have to seek accident benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you don’t have proper representation, the insurance company will often try to get away with paying a very low, and unfair, amount.
Breyer Law Offices, P.C., can speak to the insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies don’t try the same tactics with attorneys because they know that we are familiar with these cases, and we know how to get a fair settlement.
Drunk driving is a year-round problem, but there’s no doubt that it skyrockets on New Year’s Eve. It’s important for everyone ringing in the New Year to get home safely. When that does not happen, call a Phoenix drunk driving injury lawyer at (602) 457-6222 to schedule a free consultation. The Husband and Wife Law Team will go to work to get your medical bills and other accident-related expenses paid. A very safe and happy New Year to everyone!
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer