NHTSA has launched its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
At a time when the pandemic has led to more drivers making risky decisions, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. wants to spread the message to drive sober and stay safe as you usher out the end of summer.
A National Enforcement Campaign
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is an annual campaign in which law enforcement agencies across the country work to crack down on impaired driving. From mid-august through September 6th, law enforcement professionals field task forces, set up road blocks, and increase their presence to get intoxicated motorists off the road.
NHTSA chooses this time of year to mobilize its campaign because it is historically one of the deadliest times of year on our roads. According to NHTSA:
- During Labor Day 2019, 45% of the 451 traffic fatalities that occurred over the holiday weekend involved drivers who were drinking.
- The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” because there are more traffic deaths than any other time of year.
- Someone is killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash; over 10,000 lives are lost each year.
Despite these overwhelming numbers, injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving are entirely preventable. The key, according to NHTSA, comes from educating motorists about its extreme dangers.
How Alcohol Impairs Driving
Alcohol impairs brain function, thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination – all of which are essential to safely operating a vehicle. And as a person’s alcohol levels rise, its negative effects on the central nervous system increase. At a BAC of .08, crash risks increase exponentially.
Even a small amount of alcohol can impair driving ability. In 2019, 1,775 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes involving drivers with a BAC of .01 to .07.
Examples of BAC levels and their effects on driving:
- .02 BAC – Decline in visual function, tracking of moving targets, and ability to perform two tasks simultaneously.
- .05 BAC – Reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, and reduced response times to collision-critical events.
- .08 BAC – Impaired concentration, short-term memory, speed control, information processing, and perception.
- .10 BAC – Reduced ability to maintain lane position and appropriately brake.
- .15 BAC – Substantial impairment of vehicle control, attention to driving task, and necessary information processing.
While .08 is the common legal threshold for DUI / DWI, drivers can still be arrested if their BAC is below the legal limit. In New York, for example, drivers with a BAC between .05 and .07 may be charged with DWAI (driving while ability impaired). DUI charges come with costly and career-altering penalties.
Tips to Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents
If your end-of-summer celebrations involve alcohol, take a few simple steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.
- Plan ahead to ensure you have a sober ride if you plan to drink at an event, whether that means designating a sober driver, arranging to stay the night, or using a ride-share or taxi.
- Drink responsibly and never feel pressured to drink alcohol.
- Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
- A designated driver doesn’t mean the person who drinks the least. It means someone who stays sober.
- Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re taking medications that impair your ability to drive.
- If you’re hosting a party, offer alcohol-free drinks and encourage guests to have sober rides.
- If you’re a parent, talk to your young motorist about the dangers of drunk driving and have them sign a pledge to not drink and drive.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
Even those who stay sober or plan sober rides can be hurt when others around them drive intoxicated. Because what you do after an accident can greatly affect your physical recovery and your right to recover financial compensation for your damages, it’s important to take a few important steps:
- Call 911 to request emergency medical aid so you and others involved are treated immediately.
- If possible, exchange insurance and contact information with all involved parties and witnesses.
- Take photos of the accident scene, vehicles, and surrounding area for your records.
- If law enforcement arrives to take a report or make an arrest, you can request a copy of the police report for use in potential legal action.
- Listen to your doctor’s recommendations and continue treating your injuries. Don’t try to tough it out or stop treatment if you’re not yet recovered.
- Call an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your situation, explain if you have grounds to bring a claim, and guide you through the personal injury claim process.
Our firm has been fighting for victims across New York since 1983. Unfortunately we see devastating crashes every year due to impaired driving – especially during holidays like Labor Day. If you or a loved one were injured by an impaired driver, we can review your case and discuss how we can help.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has recovered millions for victims of motor vehicle accidents. Call (212) 577-9325 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.