Residents and visitors to Ohio celebrate the holidays in many different ways. Unfortunately, too many of these celebrations involve drinking and driving. Injury victims may have numerous avenues of legal recovery, with defendants potentially including:
- The drunk driver;
- The owner of the vehicle;
- The bar/ establishment that served the alcohol, under Ohio's dram shop law, O.R.C. 4399.18.
An Ohio car accident lawyer can help injury victims access compensation for their injuries and hold drunk drivers responsible for their dangerous conduct.
Ohio law enforcement increases DUI enforcement efforts during the holiday season
Throughout Ohio, law enforcement agencies implement targeted strategies for DUI enforcement during the holiday season. NBC 24 reports that the Ohio State Highway Patrol upped their enforcement during the Thanksgiving weekend. Such patrols are often the result of both anecdotal and statistical data gathered by law enforcement agencies during previous holiday seasons. Many law enforcement agencies use this information to ascertain where drunk driving is most likely to occur and target enforcement efforts in that particular geographical area. These trends are also the result of larger national data which shows increases in drunk driving during the holiday season.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, both the number of traffic fatalities and the proportion of accidents involving drunk driving are significantly higher on Christmas and New Year’s Day than other times of the year. Akron isn't immune to this trend, with the roads especially perilous given the winter weather conditions.
Why cutting yourself off just won’t cut it
When attending a holiday party, it can be tempting to think you can simply "have a few" and then sober up before you leave. But there is ample evidence to suggest most people are extremely poor judges of when they have had too much alcohol to safely drive.
In order to demonstrate the difficulty in determining one’s own ability to drive, TODAY conducted a social experiment by hosting a party. Alcohol was served, and half the guests were told to drink as they normally would, while the other half were asked to refrain as “designated drivers” (In actuality, a car service was available to ensure that all guests made it home safely). At the end of the party, the drinkers were asked whether they thought they could safely drive before being subjected to breathalyzer and field sobriety tests administered by local police officers. One partygoer thought that he could safely drive the two blocks home. To his surprise, his breath showed an alcohol level of .13 - nearly double the legal limit for driving. Other guests experienced similar surprises at the extent of the physical effects of alcohol, and how long these effects lasted.
This study is just one example of a common problem in the prevention of drunk driving. For many drivers, it is difficult to know whether or not they can safely operate a vehicle. Drivers can avoid this conundrum by having a backup plan for getting home without operating a vehicle. Designate a driver. Call a friend or family member. Hail a cab or rideshare vehicle. Apps like Uber and Lyft have made it easier than ever to get a ride exactly when and where you need it. The more backup plans a person has, the less tempted he or she may be to drive drunk. Support those around you - and protect all road users in Ohio - by ensuring that everyone gets home safely.
An Ohio car accident attorney can guide injury victims through the legal process and help improve their access to compensation for their losses.