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Campaign Aims to Prevent DUI Accidents in Last Weeks of Summer

Our Lexington car accident attorneys report on a campaign that aims to prevent DUI accidents in the last weeks of summer.

Drunk drivers present a serious hazard to other motorists on Kentucky’s roadways. With an eye toward prevention, law enforcement agencies in Kentucky and across the nation will be participating in a Get Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign, which runs from August 19 through Labor Day weekend.

Drunk driving accidents are preventable, yet driving while intoxicated is one of the most frequently committed crimes in the country and is becoming a safety epidemic, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Accidents involving drunk driving typically go up around holiday weekends, as some people celebrate by overindulging in alcoholic beverages.

Throughout the year, someone dies in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). During Labor Day weekend, the alcohol-related accident fatalities increased to a death every 34 minutes in a recent year, MADD said.

The nation recorded 424 car-wreck fatalities on Labor Day 2013 and nearly half involved drivers who had consumed some alcohol. That increases the chances they’ll make poor decisions and get involved in a drunk-driving crash.

Of the fatal accidents, 38 percent involved drivers who were legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of drunk of .08 or higher. More than a quarter of the drivers were highly intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or higher —nearly twice the legal limit.

Drunk driving is more likely to take place at night. For instance, on Labor Day weekend 2013, half of the crash deaths at night, from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., involved intoxicated motorists.

Kentucky Statistics

The number of people killed in traffic crashes in Kentucky has dropped dramatically during the last decade, falling to 638 in 2013, according to NHTSA figures. The total included 167 accident deaths involving impaired drivers.

Across the U.S., drunk-driving crashes claimed the lives of 10,076 people in 2013.

About 20 percent of passenger deaths involving children ages 12 and younger in 2013 stemmed from drunk-driving crashes. In more than 70 percent of the incidents, the child’s own driver was drunk.

Forty-four percent of the children killed while being driven by a drunk driver were not buckled up.

In the month of August from 2009 through 2013, eight percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one previous DUI conviction.

Part of the Solution

Despite the decrease in car-crash deaths and drunk-driving fatalities, it is important to remember that DUI-related deaths are completely preventable.

The NHTSA believes increasing state enforcement efforts and raising public awareness through the national campaign will save more lives in Kentucky and across America.

If you’re having a party:

  • Do not allow anyone to drive home after they’ve been drinking.
  • If people must drink, monitor their behavior to make sure nobody gets highly intoxicated.
  • Keep plenty of food on hand and pass out snacks so people will have something in their stomach to absorb the alcohol.
  • Don’t make alcoholic beverages the focus of the get-together. Play plenty of outdoor games such as croquet, badminton or volleyball to keep people active.
  • Pass out water or soft drinks for those who volunteer to be designated drivers.
  • If someone overindulges, find a sober driver to take them home or let them sleep it off before the leave.

Most of all, over the weekend, use common sense to protect yourself, your family and friends. That goes a long way toward preventing tragedy.

If you or a loved one are injured in a crash involving a drunk driver, contact an attorney experienced in handling DUI-related crashes. You’ll need someone to help you file a claim and guide you through the legal system to ensure you receive an award you deserve. Don’t let someone else’s negligence over the holiday weekend ruin your life.