What Are Your Legal Options if you get hit by a drunk driver in Tampa?
The holiday season should ideally be a time of joy and celebration. However, it's often tainted by a disturbing trend – an increase in car accidents caused by drunk drivers in Florida and throughout the country. This period experiences some of the highest rates of drunk driving incidents compared to other times of the year.
"The year-end holiday period from Thanksgiving through New Year's is always one of the most dangerous times on U.S. roads and highways, with a spike in crashes that often result in serious injuries or death," says the National Road Safety Foundation, which added that many of these crashes are due to "the increased risk (that) comes from a combination of factors that include impairment from alcohol and drugs."
How common is drunk driving during the holidays?
Crashes involving drunk drivers have long been a problem between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, according to the National Road Safety Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the National Safety Council (NSC). This is why these organizations and others have designated December as National Impaired Driving Awareness Month.
Sadly, though, such efforts have not made a big different difference. Between 2017 and 2021, more than 4,500 people died nationwide in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during December, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In December 2021 alone, 1,013 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes nationwide.
As for Florida, drunk driving accidents increased by 43.7 percent between 2012 and 2021, according to accident data collected by the NHTSA and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
In particular, 2021 was among the deadliest years in Florida when it comes to fatal drunk driving accidents. That year, impaired drivers caused 1,019 motor vehicle accident fatalities, which represents 27.2 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Florida that year, according to NHTSA and FLHSMV data.
What are police doing to prevent drunk driving accidents?
To combat drunk driving in Florida and nationwide, the NHTSA recently announced that it's working with state and local law enforcement nationwide through Jan. 1, 2024, to combat drunk driving.
Known as "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," this nationwide effort will increase police enforcement to pull over impaired drivers and prevent drunk driving accidents from happening in the first place.
What can drivers do to avoid a drunk driving accident?
To minimize the risk of causing or being involved in a drunk driving accident, drivers can take these proactive steps:
- Avoid Drinking and Driving: The most effective measure to avoid causing a crash that injures you, your passengers, or someone else is to refrain from consuming alcohol if you plan to drive. Always have a designated driver who will remain sober to ensure everyone's safety.
- Plan Ahead: Before attending holiday celebrations, make a transportation plan. Designate a responsible, non-drinking driver in your group or arrange for alternative transportation options like taxis, buses, trains, or rideshare services such as Uber.
- Provide Alternatives: If you're hosting a gathering, be considerate of your guests. Offer festive non-alcoholic beverages as an alternative to alcoholic drinks to promote responsible drinking.
"We're asking everyone to take personal responsibility this holiday season by making a plan for a safe ride home before your celebrations begin. Designate a non-drinking, unimpaired driver. Take a taxi, a bus, or a train. Use a rideshare app like Uber. If you're a host, provide an alternative to your guests, such as festive, non-alcoholic drinks." — Mothers Against Drunk Driving
For sober drivers, remaining vigilant during the holiday season can help identify potentially impaired drivers:
- Stay Alert: Pay close attention to your surroundings and the behavior of other drivers, especially during the holiday season.
- Look for Signs: Watch for signs of impaired driving, which may include:
- Drivers swerving in and out of their lanes.
- Excessive speeding or driving significantly below the speed limit.
- Erratic driving behaviors, such as abrupt lane changes or turns without signaling.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer if You've Been Injured
Don't underestimate the complexity of your Florida drunk driving accident claim or lawsuit. Even if an impaired driver clearly caused your crash, don't be surprised if you have a hard time getting the money you rightfully deserve. In many cases, straightforward injury claims or lawsuits quickly become complicated legal cases. That's because insurance companies care more about protecting their profits than paying injury victims what they deserve.
Our experienced Tampa car accident lawyers at Armando Personal Injury Law know how to handle these challenges. We know how to find evidence to build a compelling case on your behalf. We know how to work with insurance companies or take them on in court if necessary.
Put your trust in a Florida law firm that gets results. Schedule a free case evaluation with a law firm focused on winning your case. Our office is conveniently located on East 5th Avenue in Tampa, and we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no fees unless we win your case. Contact us today.