Believe it or not, 2018 is almost over and 2019 is just around the corner. Hopefully, 2018 was an excellent year for you and your loved ones and 2019 will be an even better year. One way to prevent that from coming to pass is to start out the new year by getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). An Omaha DUI defense attorney urges everyone to stay safe over the New Year’s holiday and not start 2019 with a DUI conviction.
Driving Under the Influence Is Dangerous
By now, we should all know that driving drunk is both illegal and dangerous. Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44 billion per year – and that figure doesn’t include the legal costs involved in DUI prosecutions and convictions.
New Year’s Increases the Risk of Both a Crash and an Arrest
While the risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash or getting arrested for DUI is present anytime to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, that risk increases dramatically during certain times of the year, including New Year’s Eve. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2001 and 2005, 36 fatalities occurred per day on average in the United States as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. At certain times of the year, such as summers and holidays, those numbers rose dramatically. During the Christmas period, for example, an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred each day, and soared to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday. In addition, DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend.
These figures should not come as a surprise given that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the busiest time period for vehicular traffic. Moreover, the single most dangerous day of the year to be on the roadways is New Year’s Day. Arrests for DUI and accidents caused by a drunk driver increase dramatically from late on New Year’s Eve until early on New Year’s Day. There are 71 percent more crashes with drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor between December 31st at 6 pm and January 1st at 6 am. In just that 12 hour period, alcohol and drug-related car crashes skyrocket. Compared to an average night on the weekend, between 2008 and 2012, January 1st had the highest percentage of alcohol-related deaths when compared to other days and holidays. Make no mistake about it, law enforcement will be out with ramped up enforcement efforts over the New Year’s holiday this year.
How to Stay Safe
Given the number of vehicles on the roadways and the likelihood that at least some of the vehicles you encounter will be driven by someone who is under the influence, extra precautions should be taken if you plan to be out and about over the New Year’s holiday. To reduce the risk of injury or arrest:
- Download the Uber or Lyft app and have the numbers of local taxi companies stored in your phone. Better yet, schedule an Uber/Lyft pickup ahead of time.
- Designate a driver who will not drink on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.
- Reserve a hotel room close to where you will be celebrating and walk there at the end of the night or make plans to stay over at a friend’s house who lives nearby.
- Call a family member or friend to come and get you if all else fails.
- Remember that DUI enforcement efforts are increased over New Year’s so this is not the time to take risks. If you have had anything to drink, play it safe and don’t drive!
Contact an Omaha DUI Defense Attorney
If your efforts to avoid a DUI arrest were unsuccessful, contact a Nebraska DUI defense attorney right away. Contact us at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.