Preventing Holiday Drunk Driving in Michigan
| 5 min read
The Michigan State Police are planning for a productive holiday season – stopping, testing, and arresting drivers that are over the limit. Authorities increased the numbers of officers on the road in 26 Michigan counties, which started on Black Friday and will continue throughout the holiday season and into the new year. The crackdown is called “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” You can count on police officers having a significant presence, lying in wait and ready to stop and test any driver that is exhibiting driving behavior that could be the result of alcohol or drug intoxication.
Designated Drivers for Holiday Parties
Planning ahead for holiday parties with regard to alcohol and driving is important. If the party includes alcoholic drinks (and they usually do), ensure your guests have a designated driver. Don’t have anyone who offers to volunteer to stay sober? There are other options that you can access. There are designated driver services you can find online at drinkinganddriving.org or through AAA. Another good choice is to take a taxi home. Do some research, as there are a few taxi services that offer special deals during the holiday season, with a free ride back to your car on the following day.
Your Party Guests
If you are hosting a holiday party, you have a responsibility to your guests and their safety. An intoxicated guest cannot be allowed to get behind the wheel, and you, as the host, might be facing the challenge of seeing a guest that is obviously over the limit and wants to drive home. Put a plan in place in advance. You can make it fun by gathering car keys as your guests arrive unless they have a designated driver in their group. You set the tone, and let everyone know you won’t be allowing anyone to drive home drunk, and that you have a designated driver service to contact. It would be terrible to experience the guilt of allowing a guest to drive off who was later killed in an accident, or who caused a crash in which others were injured or killed.
About Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
If you register at .08 BAC or higher in Michigan and are pulled over, you will be facing a DUI charge. You may believe that you haven’t consumed enough alcohol to be over the limit, but in fact, you need to wait at least 45 minutes per drink for the alcohol to dissipate. At .05 BAC it can take up to 2 hours for the alcohol to leave your system. Women reach a higher BAC level faster than men, and more of the alcohol enters the bloodstream. Planning a “girl’s night out?” Help your friends avoid serious legal consequences and arrange for a sober ride home for everyone, or plan for at least a one and half hour wait – for just two drinks – before getting behind the wheel. The truth about BAC is that you are better off not driving at all to your holiday party, get-together or night out on the town.
The Dangers of Holiday Driving in Michigan 2013
There are high numbers of fatalities and severe injuries in Michigan that are the result of alcohol-related crashes. The numbers for the state from michigantrafficcrashfacts.org reveal that in 29.9% of the crashes, the driver of the vehicle had been drinking. On holidays, the numbers of drivers on the road that have consumed alcohol is even higher, and even with an increased police presence, the potential for a serious or fatal crash is very real.
2012 2013 Number of Fatal Crashes 870 881 Alcohol-Related Crashes 260 257 Injury Crashes 51,685 51,949 Alcohol-Related Fatalities 936 951 Injured in Alcohol-Related Crashes 5,475 5,242
This chart was sourced from michigantrafficcrashfacts.org.
Plan Ahead and Avoid an Accident
It is important that you are aware of the increased dangers on the streets, roads and highways if you are driving during the holiday season, particularly in the evening hours. Defensive driving is vital at any time, but over the holidays, it’s even more so. Assume that there are many drivers on the road who have been drinking, and maintain a distance between your vehicle and others. If you are being tailgated by any other vehicle, pull over and call the police. You could save a life by reporting a DUI driver to the police before a disaster occurs.
Drunk Driving Accidents and Injuries
A drunk driver that causes an accident that leads to injury or death will be facing serious legal repercussions. Not only will he or she be dealing with felony DUI charges, a civil action or insurance claim can be filed by a drunk driving car accident lawyer in Michigan. These actions will allow the injured or family to recover damages, for both economic and non-economic losses. Driving drunk is a crime, but the emotional devastation that families suffer when a loved one dies or is seriously injured over the holiday season, or any time of year, is unimaginable. Make your holiday season a happy one, and help everyone stay safe.
Photo credit: picjumbo
Ashley Krohn is a new mom, sports enthusiast, iced coffee fanatic and animal lover. When I’m not receiving slobbery baby kisses (whether that be from my son or one of our critters) I enjoy writing about topics relating to health, family and marketing. Located in Detroit, Goodman Acker, P.C. serves injured and disabled clients in the Tri-County area and throughout Michigan. Find her on Twitter @Tweetinash.