Holidays and summer months are often marked by impaired drivers on the road, but impaired driving is on the rise, and Labor Day has been noted as particularly deadly, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Originating in 1894 as a holiday to celebrate the contributions of the American worker to the national economy and standard of living, Labor Day has become an occasion to celebrate the end of summer.
The NHTSA, along with the Governors Highway Safety Association, host an annual Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to combat alcohol and drug impaired driving. The shocking statistics recently released by the NHTSA are that every day, about 37 people in the United States are killed in drunk driving accidents — amounting to one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people were killed in alcohol related accidents in the U.S., accounting for 31% of all traffic fatalities that year and a 14% increase over alcohol-related deaths in 2020. That same period saw a 10% increase in traffic fatalities overall, establishing that drinking and driving are on the rise. As part of its campaign, law enforcement officers are targeting impaired drivers from mid-August through September 4, and both organizations are urging drivers to either have a designated sober driver or use a Taxi, an Uber or Lyft to take them home after drinking.
A person’s alcohol level is determined by measuring the weight of alcohol contained in a certain volume of blood, referred to as the Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. In most states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood will trigger a charge of Driving Under the Influence, except in Utah, where the BAC threshold is .05. However, a lesser amount of alcohol can still impair driving ability. In 2021, 2,266 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in which the driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL. Even more alarming, in two-thirds of deaths caused by drunk driving in 2021, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more, nearly twice the legal limit. A person’s BAC is measured by a device called a breathalyzer or by a blood test.
The consequences of being arrested for drunk driving are severe. A driver can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and penalties for impaired driving can include revocation of your driver’s license, fines of up to $10,000, legal fees. and imprisonment, in addition to costs of medical expenses and property damage caused by the collision. The judge may also require the driver to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at his or her own expense. In Florida, such devices are mandatory in a second or later offense.
The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to abstain from drinking and driving. However, as the statistics bear out, you may still be at risk of being struck by a driver who is under the influence, especially on Labor Day weekend. If that happens, despite all precautions, and you or a loved one is injured by a careless driver, do not hesitate to call The Datny Law Firm at 561-221-7474, and Boca Raton Car Accident Injury Attorney David B. Datny. We are available 24/7 even at night, on the weekend and during holidays like Labor Day to discuss how we can help you recover for your injuries. Automobile accident victims benefit from the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, who will protect them from overzealous insurance companies who are not looking out for their best interest. Our main office is located in Boca Raton with appointment only offices in Wellington and Winter Park, Florida; however, we proudly represent clients injured throughout Florida.