The holidays are a time for getting together with family and friends. From the week before Thanksgiving on into the new year, parties and celebrations abound, both in people’s homes as well as in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs throughout the Portland area. While alcohol often plays a central role in these get togethers, getting behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking can end up producing tragic results. Every year, increasing numbers of people get carried away with holiday drinking, resulting in a corresponding increase in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Unfortunately, these accidents often result in serious and potentially fatal injuries. If you or a loved one is out celebrating this new year, be aware of the dangers and use caution when driving home from gatherings or when traveling at night.
Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is an alarming and dangerous spike in drunk driving accidents each holiday season. The statistics involving these accidents are grim:
- In 2014, there were a total of 9,967 highway fatalities caused by drunk driving;
- In December 2014 alone, there were close to 800 deaths resulting from drunk driving – an average of one every 57 minutes; and
- In nearly 70 percent of these cases, the drunk driver responsible for the accident had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or greater, which is almost twice the legal limit in the state of Oregon.
A November 2015 ABC news report on a drunk driving accident in Los Angeles highlights the devastation these accidents can cause, both during the holidays and throughout the year. Two people were killed and eight were injured when a suspected drunk driver crashed into a minivan containing a family of five before striking a pedestrian and several motorcycles during an accident that occurred at 12:50 a.m. the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The mother of the family, who was driving the minivan, was killed instantly and three children under the age of 10 were injured. A motorcyclist was killed in the accident, and five others were injured at the scene.
Efforts to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents
During the 2015-2016 holiday season, the NHTSA has increased efforts at preventing drunk driving accidents through the efforts of over 10,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The NHTSA has also unveiled a new public service spot that will preview in movie theatres beginning January first. The three-minute video aims to raise awareness of the rate of impairment even a few drinks can have on a driver’s judgment. According to a news release on this new effort to reach drunk drivers before they get behind the wheel and cause an accident, an NHTSA spokesperson points out that drunk driving is a conscious decision by a driver, one that, as in the case above, can have fatal consequences.
A Portland Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Assist You with Your Case
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a drunk driver, contact our experienced Portland car accident attorney. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the serious damages that can result from these accidents. We can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Call or contact us online for a free review of your case.