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December Is National Impaired Driving Awareness Month

Handing keys over to the designated driver

Crashes involving drunk drivers spike during the holiday season

The holiday season in Ohio is a festive time of year. Unfortunately, numerous car accidents occur this time of year in the Buckeye State due to drunk drivers making the reckless decision to get behind the wheel. In fact, one study ranked Ohio among the top 10 most dangerous states for drunk driving during the holiday season.

This is why several organizations have designated December as National Impaired Driving Awareness Month. “Two of the most celebrated dates in December – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – are also among the most dangerous,” says Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one of the organizers of this month’s holiday drunk driving awareness campaign.

Holiday drunk driving is a serious problem

December is one of the most dangerous months for drunk driving in the country. Between 2017 and 2021, drunk drivers nationwide in December caused 4,500 car accident fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In December 2021, in particular, 1,013 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes nationwide.

This is why MADD, the National Safety Council (NSC), and the National Road Safety Foundation designated December as National Impaired Driving Awareness Month. “The year-end holiday period from Thanksgiving through New Year's is always one of the most dangerous times on U.S. roads and highways,” says the National Road Safety Foundation.

Ohio is the 7th deadliest state for holiday drunk driving

A recent traffic safety study conducted by ValuePenguin ranked Ohio the 7th deadliest state for drunk driving crashes that occur on Christmas or Thanksgiving. Specifically, 43 people died in drunk driving-related accidents on Christmas in Ohio between 2010 and 2018. An additional 37 people died in drunk driving accidents in Ohio on Thanksgiving during the same period. According to the ValuePenguin study, such numbers account for 3 percent of deaths nationwide for all holidays.

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign

Spearheaded by the NHTSA, national officials will be working with state and local law enforcement to crack down on drunk driving as part of its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

This month’s campaign involves two approaches to preventing drunk driving – education and enforcement. Drivers this month in Ohio and nationwide can expect two things – police will be out in force educating drivers about drunk driving. And if police observe a driver who appears to be intoxicated, those drivers can expect to be stopped and potentially charged with operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI).

What can be done to prevent drunk driving?

State and local police aren’t the only ones responsible for preventing drunk driving. Everyone can do their part to keep our roads safe during the holidays.

“We’re asking everyone to take personal responsibility this holiday season by making a plan for a safe ride home before your celebrations begin,” says MADD. “Designate a non-drinking, unimpaired driver. Take a taxi, a bus, or a train. Use a rideshare app like Uber. If you’re a host, provide an alternative to your guests, such as festive, non-alcoholic drinks.”

In addition, if drivers observe other motorists operating erratically, the NHTSA and MADD advise them to call the police immediately. That phone call could prevent a serious crash and save people’s lives.

Recovering compensation after getting hit by a drunk driver

Ohio has an at-fault car insurance system. This means the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for paying injury victims for all their accident-related expenses.

However, drunk driving accidents in Ohio are sometimes different. In particular, you may be able to obtain financial compensation from additional sources depending on the circumstances of your crash.

For example, if the drunk driver who caused your accident purchased alcohol when they were already impaired and then subsequently caused your accident, you may be able to take legal action against the bar, restaurant, or liquor store that sold the alcohol. These legal cases are called dram shop claims. Whatever the circumstances of your legal case, we can help.

An Ohio car accident attorney can help you demand justice

Don’t simply assume you will be fairly compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses if a drunk driver hits you. Many times, seemingly straightforward accident claims and lawsuits become complicated legal cases.

That’s why it’s in your interest to schedule a free case evaluation with an Ohio car accident lawyer at the Gervelis Law Firm. We know the laws that apply to drunk driving accidents in Ohio. We know what evidence to look for and how to build the strongest possible legal case advocating for the compensation you deserve.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation. We have offices conveniently located throughout Ohio, including offices in Canfield, Columbus, Toledo, Akron, and Warren.

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