Preventing Alcohol-Related Car Accidents Over the Holidays

During the holidays, it is no surprise that we see more drivers on the road who are driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. While the numbers of DUI-related motor vehicle deaths are starting to decrease each year – thanks to the adoption of the 0.08 BAC limit and greater public awareness – there has been a disturbing increase in the proportion of DUI-related deaths over the holidays, says Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). For example, in 2010 the average number of highway deaths from DUI-related driving was 31%. That percentage rose to 40% over the Thanksgiving holiday, 37% over Christmas, and 48% over New Year’s Eve. There is also a trend toward increased DUI-related deaths in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, after “Black Wednesday” parties when people head home and celebrate the evening before Thanksgiving.

RI Law on Driving Under the Influence

All states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have adopted the 0.08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle, for drivers 21 and older. Drivers younger than 21 are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their system. In a primer on DUIs in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Bar Association describes how a driver in Rhode Island with a BAC less than 0.08 can still be convicted of driving under the influence, without a BAC reading, if the officer testifies that based on certain observations, the driver was under the influence such that he or she was not capable of safely operating the vehicle. The DUI laws in Rhode Island apply to driving anywhere in the state, not just on public roads. This means that driving on private roads, including driveways, still requires following the 0.08 BAC limit law.

The adoption of the 0.08 BAC limit in all states has contributed to a 21 percent reduction in drunk driving deaths since 2004.  But even at this reduced legal limit, a person with a 0.08 BAC is 11 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than someone who has had no alcohol to drink, says MADD.

What You Can Do

If you choose to drink alcohol during holiday celebrations, having alternate transportation such as a designated driver or taxi is essential. Or, you may find that having a festive drink – or two, or three – can be just as delicious without the dangerous effects of alcohol. Cardi’s has published its 12 Non-Alcoholic Drinks of Christmas, with recipes for 12 delicious Mocktails for the holiday season. And no matter how careful you are, there are other drivers on the road who may not take as much care, so be on alert to avoid reckless drivers.

If you have been in a car accident caused by a driver who was driving under the influence, call The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC today or fill out our online contact form. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help review your case and seek the compensation that you deserve.