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New Years Eve Celebrate ResponsiblyAs we enter the new year, the COVID-19 global pandemic still continues to challenge us in many ways. However, that hasn’t stopped countless people from traveling over holidays and attending large gatherings. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates an increase in the number of car accidents and fatalities this New Year’s due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you prepare your New Year’s Eve plans, be mindful of all possible dangers that may arise throughout the night. Whether you are spending a night out with friends or at home watching the ball drop on television, it is important to practice basic safety procedures no matter where you ring in the new year.

New Year’s Eve should be a time of celebration—and not one of tragedy or catastrophic loss. At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we, unfortunately, hear about preventable accidents caused by reckless and negligent drivers on a regular basis. 

During this season, remain mindful of the potential consequences of DUI accidents on one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Intoxicated and drunk drivers are one of the biggest risks on the road during the New Year’s holiday. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated could lead to injury or death to your passengers or others on the road, and possibly criminal charges and civil damages. 

 

How To Stay Safe On New Years Eve

Although you cannot control everyone else on the road, you can ensure that you are not arrested for DUI. Celebrating New Year’s safely at home is a safe choice to avoid all other drivers on the road. If you will be going out on New Year’s, plan ahead. Take public transportation, travel via rideshare (such as Uber or Lyft), or decide on a designated sober driver amongst your friends. 

 

New Year’s Eve is a Top Holiday for DUI Accidents 

DUI statistics continue to be sobering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people are killed in drunk driving accidents each day. The National Safety Council has estimated that 427 people may die on US roads during this year’s holiday period—from  6 p.m. Thursday, December 30, 2021, to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, January 2, 2022.

For many people, New Year’s celebrations involve raising a glass of champagne, or another kind of alcohol, to toast. According to an alcohol.org survey, more than 40% of women, and 47% of men drink alcohol on New Year’s Eve. 

 

Is It Dangerous To Travel On New Year’s Eve?

One good thing about New Year’s Eve is there are a lot of people off work and out of school. Traffic is lighter. However, the risk of being involved in a crash on New Year’s Eve is likely higher than on a typical day. 

It is difficult to estimate the impact of alcohol in the future, but past projections for holiday accidents, injuries, and fatalities by the National Safety Council have been in line with outcomes. 

We know that the pandemic led to increased alcohol consumption at home- there was an uptick in alcohol sales from  March to September 2020. Alcohol is served more casually than ever before – it is not just available in bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. In 2021, alcohol is served in movie theaters and even barbershops and nail salons

 

How Many Accidents Happen On New Year’s Eve? 

In 2020, the CHP reported at least 3 people were killed in suspected DUI crashes during the New Year’s Eve enforcement period. More than 500 suspected drunk drivers were arrested. 

Despite mass media campaigns emphasizing that drinking and driving simply do not mix, driving under the influence continues to be a huge problem. The CDC reported in their “Sobering Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving” California Fact Sheet that 9,288 people were killed in collisions involving a drunk driver in California between 2009 and 2018.

 

Driving Under the Influence is Against the Law in California 

California’s DUI vehicle code is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) which states simply that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” It is important to note that drivers who display signs of intoxication may be charged with a DUI even if there is no evidence that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08%.

Along with criminal charges for drunk driving, fines, and possible loss of driving privileges, drivers may be liable in a separate civil claim for financial damages.  Victims of drunk driving accidents should not accept an insurance settlement for damages without first speaking with an experienced lawyer about their legal rights. 

 

Is It Safe To Drive On New Year’s Day?

You can increase your own safety by driving without distraction and keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road in front of you. Watching for drunk drivers can give you added seconds to avoid them. You may or may not see clues or indicators that a driver is intoxicated. If you see a suspected drunk driver, the safest thing to do is to give them space and distance. Possible indicators of a drunken driver include: 

  • Drifting or weaving dangerously in and out of traffic lanes
  • Traveling the wrong direction 
  • Driving too slow 
  • Tailgating 
  • Sudden or erratic braking 

The California Highway Patrol reminds motorists to report drunk drivers by dialing 9-1-1. If you have a passenger in the vehicle with you, ask them to note the license plate number and description of the vehicle, and make the call for you. 

 

Involved in a DUI Accident on New Year’s? Contact an Experienced DUI Accident Attorney!

Time is of the essence following an accident. If you or a loved one was involved in drunk driving or a DUI accident in California—or any accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver—you may be entitled to financial compensation. Damages in a personal injury claim may include medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. 

The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help you recover the fair compensation you deserve for your damages. Our DUI accident attorneys have extensive experience in handling car accident claims caused by a drunk driver. With multiple offices located in Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside and San Diego, our DUI car accident lawyers represent drunk driving accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a personal injury attorney, please call 949-727-9300.