Labor Day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
August 11, 2021
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk drivers killed 10,142 people in 2019. Drunk driving-related motor vehicle crashes accounted for nearly 30% of that year’s total fatalities. Despite the fact that alcohol-related traffic deaths have been on a slight decline, drunk driving remains a leading cause of death on roadways nationwide. The NHTSA is reminding Americans that the upcoming Labor Day (September 6) weekend is one of the deadliest times to be on the road. To reduce drunk driving-related injuries and deaths, several law enforcement agencies around the country are participating in high-visibility, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaigns from August 18th to September 6th.
How Alcohol Affects a Person’s Ability to Drive
When a person drinks alcohol, it reduces overall brain function and impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. The NHTSA reports that as alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, that the negative effects on the central nervous system increase. A person’s alcohol level, or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is measured by the weight of alcohol in a certain volume of blood. When a person’s BAC reaches .08, the administration says that crash risks increase exponentially. This is why there are laws in all 50 states that make it illegal (for individuals over the age of 21) to drive with a BAC greater than .08. For individuals under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with any alcohol present in the bloodstream. Even when a person’s BAC is under .08, crash risks are higher than they are for sober drivers. For example, 1,775 individuals died in alcohol-related crashes in 2019 where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07. It is important to note that alcohol is not the only substance that can cause deadly impairments behind the wheel, so can illegal drugs, prescription medicines, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Drunk and Impaired Driving Statistics
More than 450 people died in car crashes over Labor Day weekend of 2019 – and 45% of the accidents involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. Younger drivers were more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking; 46% of the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who died in accidents during that time period were intoxicated. Here are some other important drunk (and impaired) driving statistics to take note of from the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD:
- 21% of drivers who the police pull over have alcohol above the legal limit in their system
- Almost 7% of drivers who lost their lives in fatal crashes tested positive for THC, the principle ingredient in marijuana
- The highest percentage of drunk drivers killed in fatal crashes in 2017 were 21 to 24-years old, followed by individuals between the ages of 25 to 34 and lastly, those between 35 and 44-years-old
- About 4,000 drivers who die in fatal crashes each year have various drugs in their systems
- Each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times – but the police arrest fewer than 3,000
- A person dies every 48 to 52 minutes in a drunk driving-related accident
- Teens who start drinking when they are young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives
- About one-third of drivers who are arrested or convicted for driving under the influence are repeat offenders
- Drunk driving crashes are three to four-times higher at night than during the daytime
- Every day, approximately 800 people sustain injuries from drunk driving-related crashes and 28 sustain fatal injuries. That means that at least one person dies every 52 minutes
Sometimes, Labor Day festivities begin even earlier than the holiday’s official start date. As millions of Americans throw barbecues and host their friends and loved ones, it is important to remember to stay vigilant about never getting behind the wheel after drinking, doing illicit substances, or after taking certain prescription and OTC medications. Here are some of the NHTSA’s tips for being a responsible driver:
- Plain and simple: if you are drinking, do NOT drive
- Plan a safe ride home before the party even starts. Choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver. If everyone is drinking, use a ride-hailing or taxi service
- If someone you know has been drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys and call a taxi, sober friend, or a ride-hailing service
- If you are the host of a party where people will be drinking alcohol or using illicit substances, make sure each guest leaves with a sober driver
- Always wear a seat belt
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, call local law enforcement. Your call could save a person’s life
Injured in a Car Accident?
Even if you commit to driving safely and responsibly, you cannot control other people on the road. If you were injured or your vehicle sustained damage after being hit by an impaired driver, you should speak with an experienced attorney. Having an attorney on your side is critical to simplify how complicated and stressful filing a personal injury claim can be. To learn more about filing a claim for your injuries, contact a representative at our firm who can help now.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Auto Accident Victims Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.