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Beware of the Increase in DUIs and Drunk Driving Injuries This Holiday Season

Why Do DUI Incidents Increase During the Holiday?

With the holiday season approaching, we all look forward to getting together with family and friends to celebrate. More people are traveling to visit loved ones and to attend parties. Many of these gatherings feature wine, beer, and cocktails, and a general atmosphere of over-indulgence. The holidays see an increase of people out and about on the roads and more people imbibing in alcoholic beverages as they celebrate the season.

Just as more people turn to alcohol when celebrating the holidays, many others turn to alcohol to help them deal with the difficult emotions the season may bring. This is especially the case this year with the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are struggling with serious problems like unemployment, financial instability, isolation from family and friends, and the heartbreaking loss of loved ones. This can be an overwhelming emotional burden that drives people to self-medicate with alcohol.

Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics

The statistics surrounding drunk driving accidents during the holiday season are staggering. In general, DUI-related fatalities represent more than 25% of all crash fatalities. According to the US Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people died in drunk driving accidents between Christmas and New Year’s Day over the last five years. In December 2016, 781 people were killed in drunk driving accidents across the US. An increase in binge-drinking has also been noted during the holiday season.

COVID-19 & Holiday Drinking

On November 19, Governor Brian P. Kemp extended Georgia’s Public Health State of Emergency until January 8, 2021. On December 1, the Mayor and Commission of Athens-Clarke County approved the 11th Declaration of a Local State of Emergency. This order extends until January 10, 2021. This local order requires residents to wear facial coverings or masks in entities or public places where physical distancing is not possible or difficult to maintain.

Click here for more Athens-Clarke County’s COVID-19 updates.

How This Local Order May Impact Holiday DUI Rates

This local order also makes special provisions concerning the serving and sale of alcohol in Athens-Clark County. Businesses with a license to sell beer or wine can sell sealed containers for take-out consumption off-premises. Open containers may be served in outdoor seating areas within 100 feet of the licensed premises. It also makes provisions for serving open containers and transporting open containers across streets and sidewalks in approved outdoor retail settings.

Consequently, alcohol is being served and consumed in non-traditional settings. Not only does this put more people out on public walkways and roads, but more people are crossing streets on foot. With the overall increase in alcohol consumption during the holiday period, this can be a dangerous combination.

As people look for safe ways to come together with family and friends, the increase of people drinking in public spaces and then driving home has the potential to exacerbate the holiday drunk driving problem. Even the most alert driver may be surprised by an unexpected pedestrian. A driver who is impaired presents a danger to pedestrians and other drivers alike.

Tips for staying safe this holiday season include:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Keep your wits about you when on sidewalks and roadways
  • Avoid over-indulging in alcohol
  • Always appoint a designated driver
  • If you do not have a sober driver, call a friend, family member, or cab for a ride home

What to Do If a Drunk Driver Injures You or a Loved One

When someone is irresponsible and gets behind the wheel while impaired, innocent people get hurt or killed. Drunk driving accidents can be devastating. At The Law Offices of Joshua W. Branch, LLC, we are passionate about helping those injured and their families deal with these tragic circumstances. Seeking compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one is a complicated, difficult process. Our lawyers are experienced and qualified to handle even the most complex DUI injury case. When you need compassionate support, turn to our law office for help.

We Wish You a Happy, Safe Holiday Season

From virtual dinners to socially distanced gatherings outside, the holiday season looks a little different this year. As we all look forward to returning to normalcy, we are also looking for safe ways to enjoy the holiday season. The CDC recommends limiting your holiday celebrations to your household and staying home whenever possible. If you are struggling to cope with holiday stress or need help, do not be afraid to reach out. You can reach the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) here or by calling 1-800-715-4225.

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