Holidays See Rise in Drunk Driving Accidents

During the holidays an estimated one million Americans will be traveling our nation’s roads to visit family, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations also mean a spike in alcohol-impaired drivers behind the wheel. Given this year’s mild winter weather, Suffolk County police have reported a higher traffic volume and a surge in DUI arrests, which normally peak between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend.

Many motorists are unaware of how many drinks they can safely consume before getting behind the wheel. While they may feel only mildly tipsy, some may be involved in drunk driving accidents, injuring themselves and affecting the lives of innocent victims.

Just last week, Latanya Mowatt of Long Island was arrested for DUI and child endangerment after she lost control of her Nissan and struck a utility pole and two other cars in Bay Shore. At the time of the crash, Mowatt was traveling with her 8-year old daughter and 6-year-old niece, who was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious internal injuries.

New Year’s driving tips

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), motorists are actually at a higher risk of being involved in a drunk driving crash over the New Year’s weekend compared to Christmas. In 2012, some 57 percent of fatal car accidents on New Year’s Day involved drivers impaired by alcohol.

Suffolk County police will have numerous sobriety checkpoints this New Year’s Eve to help get drunk drivers off the roads.

When planning your NYE celebrations, keep these tips in mind — they just might save someone’s life:

  • If you are planning to enjoy some holiday cocktails at a party, make sure you have a designated driver or call a taxi to escort you home safely.
  • Pack an overnight bag and stay at a hotel or friend’s house.
  • If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party, offer guests your spare room, couch or floor to spend the night. Ensure there are non-alcoholic beverages available and some filling snacks to help balance the effects of alcohol.
  • If you have to drive home, party smart and avoid alcoholic beverages. Or at least limit your intake to only two, followed by large glasses of water. The best part? You can kick off 2016 without a hangover!
  • Give up your keys. If you don’t have a designated driver and are worried you might get behind the wheel impaired, give the host your car keys straight away.
  • Use public transport where available. Walking while impaired is not safe, as more pedestrians are killed on New Year’s than any other holiday. Use the bus or subway if available.
  • If you’re on the road and see another vehicle swerving erratically, call the police immediately. You may help prevent a DUI accident.

At the law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, our seasoned attorneys offer legal advice to those who have been injured by negligent, reckless and drunk drivers. For a free consultation with a Long Island auto accident lawyer who will protect your best interests, please call 1-800-469-7429.