Drunk driving accidents increase around Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our independence and all the things that make our country great. For many, it’s also become a time for drunken revelry, which is perfectly fine when handled responsibly. Unfortunately, because of their impaired judgment, many end up driving while intoxicated over the holiday weekend and wind up killing themselves and others.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 79 people died in car accidents July 4 of 2012 — the last year data are available. Of those people who died in car accidents, 78 at minimum involved one driver or motorcyclist who had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more. What is disturbing is that it appears through this data that 2012 was not an anomaly. Between 2008-2012, 40 percent of the crash fatalities that happened around the holiday involved intoxicated drivers.

That’s not to say it’s not a problem the rest of the year as well. In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in drunk driver accidents, which represents 31 percent of the total car crash deaths for the year and equals out to roughly one drunk driving death per 51 minutes.

With that in mind, there are some things you can do to make all your holiday celebrations safer:

  • If you’re drunk, find a ride. Some festivals and bars offer free rides home for the inebriated. If not, call a friend, get a taxi or take the bus. 
  • If you suspect a driver is intoxicated, call the police before they can injury or kill someone. 
  • Before the party starts, find a trustworthy person who’s willing to be the designated driver. Make plans before alcohol can impair your judgment.

If you’ve been the victim of drunk driving, first call the police and then call a Kentucky attorney. He or she may be able to help you get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: wkyt.com, “Fourth of July holiday sees spike in drunk driving crashes,” July 2, 2014

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