This weekend far too many drunk partiers will get behind the wheel and crash into another vehicle in North Texas.
I blog about DWI crashes frequently because they injure so many residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Intoxicated drivers are driving around on our streets every day and night. But your chances of being in an auto accident are much higher during the Christmas holidays — especially this year since New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday night and our economy is booming.
Last year there were 2,336 wrecks on New Year’s Eve in Texas — twice the usual daily number — which tragically took the lives of 14 people on January 1st alone.
The collision rate caused by DWIs starts spiking before Thanksgiving and continues past New Year’s Day, depending on football bowls and playoffs (Go Cowboys — but get ready for even more crashes in DFW on game days).
Heavy DWI Enforcement this Weekend
Hopefully the no refusal policy being used by North Texas police departments will prevent a lot of accidents. Under this program used over holiday periods, a suspected drunk driver will be required to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test to determine if blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the state minimum of .08%. If the driver refuses, a judge will issue a search warrant immediately. Police officers will either get a phlebotomist to come to the site or take the driver to a medical facility to draw a sample.
The no refusal program needs to be the policy every day of the year. It works. Drunk drivers are arrested before they can hurt you.
Texas in Top 5 States in Percentage of Alcohol Related Deaths
The good news is that there were fewer drunk driving deaths in 2015 than 2014 nationally.
The bad news is that Texas remains in the top five states in the percentage of alcohol related fatalities. A shocking 1,323 people died in drunk driving accidents in Texas in 2015, accounting for 38 percent of all traffic fatalities.
How to Make Your New Year’s Eve Celebration Happy and Safe
Stay safe this weekend by doing these things:
- Plan ahead. If you think you may drink too much at a party, see if you can spend the night there or at a nearby hotel. If you are the host, allow your guests to stay overnight or call them a taxi. Better yet, don’t let the party get out of control in the first place. Have nonalcoholic drinks and food available.
- Have your ride lined up with a designated driver, Uber, or taxi if you are going to be out drinking. Don’t drive yourself home.
- Take advantage of free rides on DART and TRE.
- Stay off the roads between 10 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.
- Practice super defensive driving. Pull off the road if you see a driver who may be intoxicated. Dial 911.
Let’s hope that 2017 will be the year that Dallas and Fort Worth get closer to their goals of zero drunk driving accidents.
If you are the victim of a collision, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. He or she can explain what you action you can take, which doctors you can see, and how you can recover the compensation you are entitled to receive. Please contact our office if you need help. If you do not need an attorney or can handle the claim yourself, we will let you know and give you tips on what to do.
Have a happy and safe new year!