Drunk driving accidents are on the rise during the holiday season. With more drivers on the road, more people heading out to holiday parties, and more people deciding to drive after having a few drinks, it’s no surprise that there are more DUI-related accidents around the holidays compared to other days during the year. When someone does drive while under the influence, they increase their chances of being in an accident. For those who are hit, dealing with the accident can be complex and require significant time for recovery.
Drunk Driving Statistics
Though many people reach their destination city via plane for the holidays, the top way to get around places like Pompano Beach is by driving. After flying, many people will rent a car to help them get around. During the holidays, the increased number of people on the road correlates to more drivers who are under the influence and, therefore, more DUI-related accidents.
Accidents on the highway can be deadly due to the high speeds. When there are more people traveling on the roads and an increase in drunk drivers traveling, there are more fatal crashes, too. Around 40% of fatal crashes on highways during the holidays are related to drunk driving.
The entire period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day sees an increase in injuries from crashes related to alcohol. During the month of December, almost a third of all fatal crashes are related to drunk driving.
The deadliest day for crashes related to drunk driving, though, is New Year’s Day. Around 30% of adults admit to drinking more during the holidays, and New Year’s Day is one holiday known for getting together with friends and having a few drinks. This leads to more than half of the crashes on New Year’s Day being related to alcohol.
DUI Penalties in Florida
Florida has varying penalties for DUIs based on the specific circumstances of each case. More severe penalties are possible if someone has a higher BAC, has a minor in the vehicle with them, or causes an accident. Basic penalties for a DUI in Pompano Beach, Florida, include the following.
Time in Jail
Pompano Beach doesn’t have a mandatory minimum, but the maximum can increase based on the situation. For a first-time DUI, drivers can expect six months in jail. If they have a BAC of at least .15% or a minor in the vehicle, they may receive nine months in jail. If they caused an accident, they might receive one to five years in jail based on the severity of the injuries.
Fines can range from $500 to $1000 for a first-time DUI but up to $5000 depending on the severity of the situation. Fines are on top of related costs such as legal fees, compensation to the victim if there is an accident, costs to reinstate the driver’s license, and more.
Other Criminal Penalties
All drivers convicted of a DUI will be put on probation, but the amount of time on probation combined with time in jail is less than one year. Drivers may also be ordered to complete community services as part of their probation, typically with a minimum of 50 hours.
Driving After a DUI
Drivers who are convicted for the first time may end up with a suspended license for up to a year, though it may be extended if the driver also receives an administrative suspension. Once the driver is able to have their license reinstated, they may be required to use an interlock ignition device (IID) for a period of time.
Alternative Transportation Options
Though driving under the influence increases the potential for someone to cause an accident, it can be easy to avoid. When going to parties during the holidays, if drinking is a possibility, it is important to know the various alternative transportation options that are available. It is possible to drink and have a good time during the holidays, it’s just important to make the right decisions to help everyone stay safe on the road. Some of the options available include the following.
Uber or Lyft
Uber and Lyft are incredibly easy to use and make it possible to get to and from any holiday party in Pompano Beach without having to worry about driving. Sign up for the app ahead of time to make ordering a ride easier and take time to learn how to stay safe when using a ride-sharing service.
A designated driver is a great way to make sure everyone can have fun without having to worry about a way to get home. It’s possible for each person in a group to be the designated driver on a different day, so it’s easy to enjoy any party during the holiday season without worrying about anyone in the group having to drive home after drinking.
Companies like AAA offer free tows up to a certain amount of miles during the holiday seasons for those who end up having a few drinks and then wondering how they’ll get home. By taking advantage of these offers, it’s easy to avoid a DUI and it’s possible to make sure the vehicle gets home, too.
Stay at Home or at a Hotel
Another option is for everyone to spend the night and head home the next day. Whether it’s at someone’s house or at a hotel, this lets everyone have the opportunity to sleep off the drinks and be awake and alert when they get on the road the next day.
Even those who do not drink and drive may find themselves injured in a DUI-related accident if they are hit by a drunk driver. If this happens, the victim may have significant medical expenses and other costs related to the accident that they’ll need to handle through no fault of their own. There are a few things they can do after the accident to obtain compensation.
Get Emergency Assistance
The first step should always be to call for emergency assistance. Even if the accident doesn’t lead to injuries, a police report should be created, and everyone in the accident should be checked out by medical personnel before they leave the scene. Severe injuries will require emergency medical attention.
Get Photos and Videos
If possible, it’s a good idea to get photos, and videos of the accident scene before any of the vehicles are moved. These can be used to show how the accident occurred, the exterior damage to any vehicles, injuries suffered, and more.
Speak with a Lawyer About the Case
After the accident, speak with a lawyer about the case. They can help the victim obtain compensation from the at-fault driver. Since insurance may not cover the accident when it is DUI-related, it is important to have legal assistance to obtain compensation for any injuries and expenses sustained in the accident. A lawyer will help with everything, giving the victim less to worry about while they recover from their injuries.
The holidays are a time for joy, but that can all come to an end because of a drunk driving accident. If you’re in a DUI-related accident during the holidays, or are the victim of a DUI-related accident, contact the Law Offices of Ken M Frankel to get help in Pompano Beach, Florida. Call us today at 954-799-4529 or visit us online.