Summertime And DUI Accidents – Holidays to Watch Out For This Season
Summer is the season for kicking back a few cold ones on a hot day with friends. It is also the time of year when more of those partaking in alcoholic beverages decide to get behind the wheel and are involved in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) car accidents, which is not a fun fact.
In 2019, according to Statista, the most alcohol-impaired car accidents in the United States took place between May and September. On top of that, the drunk driving death rate in Louisiana is higher than the national average of 3.2 at 5.2 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Breaking these stats down even further, the percentage of fatal DUI car accidents increases over the summer months, from 8.8 percent in May to 9.5 percent in September.
This is obviously a problem for anyone on the roads of Louisiana and across the country over these months and warrants a closer look at the factors, the consequences, and the preventative measures that can be done to protect drivers.
What are the Most Dangerous Summer Holidays for DUIs?
DUI accidents are a year-round problem, of course, but the danger is heightened over the summer – and even more on particular summer holidays, when celebrating tends to be first priority over safety.
Studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that the Fourth of July weekend is one of the most dangerous weekends to be on the road because of alcohol-impaired drivers. Data shows that 812 people were killed due to DUI accidents on or near the Fourth of July between 2014 and 2018.
More detailed DUI stats for Independence Day include:
- The week leading up to July Fourth is the deadliest, with 209 DUI accident fatalities.
- Fourth of July DUI fatalities (100 percent above the baseline average) are second to New Year’s Day fatalities (129 percent above the baseline average).
- DUI fatal crashes are 3.4 times higher at night than during the day.
- It is reported that 62 percent of DUI accidents occur on the weekends (Friday through Sunday).
After the Fourth of July, the next most dangerous summer holidays for DUIs are Labor Day (61 percent higher than average) and Memorial Day (54 percent higher).
What Should Drivers Do to Protect Themselves in the Summer?
These safeguard tips are not a guaranteed protection from drunk drivers in the summertime, but they can increase your protection from being involved in a DUI accident.
- Drive defensively. The best defense if you suspect another driver is drunk is to anticipate their actions; keep your distance from behind or let them pass you. If the suspected vehicle is oncoming, pull over to the side of the road, stop, honk, and flash your lights.
- Buckle up! This is the first defense. Wearing a seatbelt when you first sit down in a car is proven to drastically reduce the chances of a DUI car accident being fatal.
- Avoid dangerous roads and intersections. Stay away from those areas in town that are known to be more dangerous or, if it cannot be avoided, be extra careful, checking twice at intersections.
- Stay home after dark. As mentioned before, DUI accidents increase after dark, so do not become a statistic and just stay home.
What are Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers?
The pain and suffering caused by drunk drivers are endless – sometimes fatal. But some of the most common injuries from DUI car accidents include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Fractured or injured bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Cuts, bruises, or abrasions
If a driver is experiencing any of these injuries (or more), and has been the victim of a DUI car accident, he or she can seek financial compensation in a lawsuit, which will cover:
- Medical expenses and hospitalization
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Property damage
- Disability, scarring, or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
What Happens to Drivers Pulled Over for a DUI?
If anyone in Louisiana is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will be pulled over by law enforcement and given a field sobriety test. These are state-mandated, implied consent laws that require drivers to agree to a breath, blood, or urine testing for alcohol content. If the test is refused, penalties may include a suspended license for up to a year.
A DUI is a misdemeanor in Louisiana that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Here are the minimum penalties on drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08 percent or drivers who have refused a blood-alcohol content test:
- DUI First Conviction: Fine from $300 to $1,000, jail time from 10 days to six months, probation, a court-approved substance abuse program and driver improvement program, and possible community service projects.
- DUI Second Conviction: Fine from $750 to $1,000, jail time from 30 days to six months, with 48 mandatory days in jail without parole, possible community service, and a probation that includes 15 days in jail and substance abuse training.
- DUI Third Conviction: Fine of $2,000, jail time from one to five years, 30 eight-hour days of community service, psychological evaluation, a mandated, court-appointment substance abuse treatment program.
- DUI Vehicular Homicide: Minimum fine of $2,000 up to $15,000 and minimum jail time of five years up to 30 years.
A few things for drivers to keep in mind if they are pulled over for a DUI:
- They cannot talk their way out of the arrest. Also, “a right to remain silent” means no questions need to be answered outside of name and contact information.
- The crime will be published in the newspaper. Media procures information on DUI arrests from the prison and posts it, which makes this information available to insurance companies and employers.
- Traveling will be affected. Not only is a driver’s license suspended for a period of time, but international travel to certain countries, such as Canada, will also be affected.
How Legal Counsel Can Help Victims of a DUI Accident
The experienced team of personal injury lawyers at Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC, has helped clients involved in a DUI car accident seek justice and well-deserved compensation. A free consultation is the start to walk victims through the challenging legal process.