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New Year's Celebrations & Driving Safety

The National Safety Council (NSC) has confirmed, time and again, that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day holidays both see significant increases in the number of drunk driving accidents compared to the average day. For example, in 2018, there was about a 33% increase in fatal car accidents involving drunk drivers that New Year’s. As people celebrate, they lose track of how much alcoholic beverages they have enjoyed, make the mistake of getting into their vehicles, and put everyone on the road at risk of a crash.

To help prevent drunk driving accidents this New Year’s, everyone needs to do their part to be safe and smart about how to celebrate the holiday. You, too, can make a big difference in your community by planning yourself to have the safest New Year’s possible.

Five New Year’s celebration safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Designated drivers: There should be at least one person in your group who acts as a designated driver (DD) to get everyone else home safely. Your DD should not have a single drink under any circumstances because one is enough to cause dangerous intoxication.
  2. Eat and be merry: In the event that you have had a drink because you forgot that you would be driving home later, be sure to partake in any of the food and water provided for guests. Hydration and a full belly are two good ways to lessen the impact of intoxication that you might feel otherwise. Keep in mind that eating food and drinking water will not stop intoxication or even cure it, though, so don’t plan on this being a “solution” to drinking-and-driving.
  3. Leave early: The roads on New Year’s Day are the most dangerous after midnight when the majority of celebrants are heading home after a party. You can plan on leaving before midnight on New Year’s Eve to ring in the year with your closest loved ones, which should have you home before the likelihood of encountering a drunk driver increases the most. If you do stay at a party until the ball drop, then you can still plan on leaving shortly afterward to beat traffic.
  4. Plan your path: Know your route home from your party ahead of time. Looking for a path that avoids major streets and intersections can keep you clearer of intoxicated and impaired drivers.
  5. Be prepared to stop: Law enforcement officials know that drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road for New Year’s, so they will establish more sobriety checkpoints. Pay attention to the road ahead. There could be unexpectedly stopped traffic due to a checkpoint, so you need to be prepared to slow down and come to a stop.

Can You Sue a Drunk Driver?

Yes. There is an inherent risk of being hit by a drunk driver on your way home from a New Year’s party. If this happens to you, then you should know that you do have the right to demand compensation from the intoxicated driver and their insurance provider through a car accident claim. The other driver’s intoxication, as demonstrated through a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) report, can be a convincing piece of evidence of liability in civil court or during settlement negotiations. Using that evidence correctly is a task usually better suited for an injury attorney, though.

The Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. offers comprehensive and compassionate legal representation to drivers in Waco and beyond. If you are hurt by a drunk driver on New Year’s, then please let us know what happened by filling out an online contact form. From everyone at our firm, we wish you the happiest and safest celebration!

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