Proceed with Care: Drunk Driving Accidents in the Summer

summer driving

Summer is the season for barbecues, parties and family vacations. But summer also brings an increased rate of deaths from traffic accidents. In fact, during the summer months, the rate of traffic fatalities doubles due to heavier traffic and alcohol-impaired drivers. Because of the increased number of teen deaths from alcohol-impaired drivers, AAA has dubbed the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 deadliest days.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 1,022 teenagers, about 10 per day, die on the road during this period. Drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 are most at risk during this time, with the number of teen driver deaths climbing 16 percent compared to other times of the year.

The 100 deadliest days are particularly dangerous because more people are on the road visiting family and going on vacation. To add in another factor, lower gasoline prices encourage even more people to drive. Another factor is that three major drinking holidays— Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day— occur during the 100 days, causing a three-time spike in drunk drivers. And, although AAA focuses on teens, the risk of fatal accidents rises for all demographics during this period.

Fourth of July Drunk Driving Pattern

The Fourth of July ranks as the most dangerous driving day of the year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, traffic accident deaths occur on an average rate of 118.4 on July Fourth, 28 more deaths than the average non-holiday. Alcohol is the primary reason for the rise in fatalities on the Fourth: 47 percent of deaths on July Fourth involved at least one person with a BAC of at least .08 percent. On an average day, only 35 percent of fatal accidents involve alcohol. The Fourth is especially dangerous for teenagers, who account for nearly 10 percent of the fatalities. Here are tips for a safe Fourth of July celebration.

Don’t Forget About Winter Holidays

The second most dangerous time to drive is during the winter holiday season. Because of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, drinking and driving becomes more prevalent during this time of year. New Year’s is especially dangerous, ranking as the second deadliest driving day after the Fourth of July. On January 1, 62 percent of traffic accidents involve someone having a .08 percent BAC or higher.

Any time there are more cars on the road or more people drinking alcohol, driving becomes more dangerous. Drivers should be extra cautious during the summer months and during any holidays that involve alcohol. If you plan on drinking, always have a plan to get home safely. Assign a designated driver or call a cab. Stay home or with the holiday party host to avoid driving. Never get behind the wheel after drinking. Here are delicious non-alcoholic cocktails to consider.

Are You the Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident?

No matter how careful you are, drunk driving accidents are always a possibility, especially during the summer season. If you or a loved one is the victim of a drunk driving accident, South Carolina attorney F. Craig Wilkerson can help. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation or call us at:

Help a Friend and Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

prevent drunk driving

As Independence Day approaches, you’re probably making plans to attend some kind of party with your friends. And, although you’re just planning a night of fun, things can easily go wrong. The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days for car accidents involving drunk drivers. Highway fatalities increase 37 percent on July Fourth, and most of those are due to drunk driving accidents. If you know that your friends plan to drink alcohol over the holiday, then they shouldn’t drive – and here are nine tips to help keep your friends safe.

  1. Make a plan beforehand.

The best way to prevent drunk driving is to plan ahead. Make transportation arrangements to get you and your friend home safely before the night even starts. You can choose a designated driver, bring a cab company’s phone number, or ask the host if you can sleep over.

  1. Take action early.

Even if you haven’t made a plan, try to take action as soon as possible. If you see that your friend is drinking, ask him immediately about his transportation plans or ask him to give you his keys. He will be more likely to listen to reason if you talk to him before he’s had too much to drink.

  1. Be straightforward.

If you see that your friend is about to drive home and you know that she’s been drinking, a simple and straightforward approach may be best. Simply ask her “Are you okay to drive?” That may be enough to make her think twice and realize that she needs to find another way home.

  1. Speak in private.

When you approach your friend, avoid embarrassing him in front of others. If he feels embarrassed or threatened, he may refuse to listen to you out of pride. If you think this may be an issue, talk to him in private.

  1. Be calm.

When you try to tell your friend not to drive, she may respond rudely, but don’t take any insults or accusations personally. Avoid returning insults or using a condescending tone. You don’t want the conversation to turn into an argument. Remember that your goal is to prevent drunk driving and keep your friend safe.

  1. Be persistent.

If your friend shrugs you off initially, don’t give up. Keep giving reasons why he should stay at the party or make other transportation arrangements. If necessary, find others who will help you convince him.

  1. Have a slumber party.

If your friend is stubborn, it may be easier to make the idea of staying at the party seem more appealing. Ask the host if she can stay the night or invite her to your place when you leave (if you have a safe way home). Make this option more appealing by promising food or planning an activity.

  1. Call a cab.

If your friend refuses to listen to you, you may need to make travel arrangements for him. Pay for the cab in advance and give the driver directions. If possible, ride home with your friend to make sure he gets home safely.

  1. Take her keys away.

If you’ve run out of options, then ensure that your friend can’t drive at all. Wait until she’s distracted to or ask if you can borrow the car for an errand. Then keep the keys or hide them. You friend may not remember that you asked for the keys earlier in the night and may think that she simply lost them during the party.

We Advocate for Drunk Driving Accident Victims

No matter how responsibly you behave, drunk driving accidents will unfortunately still happen. If you or a loved one is the victim of a drunk driving accident, contact our personal injury attorneys online to schedule a free case evaluation or call us at:

Safety Tips for Fourth of July Parties

Fourth of July safety tips

The Fourth of July is coming up, which means you get to enjoy parties, fireworks and barbeque. But Independence Day also brings an increase in deaths due to drunk driving. In fact, nearly 40 percent of motor vehicle traffic fatalities that occur during Independence Day weekend are due to drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, some years are worse than other years, with no way to predict what will happen in 2017. During Independence Day weekend in 2012, for example, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes were six times higher than average.

So, keep yourself safe this Fourth of July with these party safety tips.

drinking at a party

  1. Go to the party in a group and make a plan about getting home.

Either decide on a designated driver or choose a cab company to call when you go home. Throughout the party, keep an eye on your friends to make sure no one drinks too much or tries to drive home drunk. Have a backup plan, such as the number of someone who can pick you up, in case your initial plan goes wrong.

snack foods at a party

  1. Eat food and drink water.

If you personally plan to drink alcohol, make sure you eat before you start drinking and eat some snacks throughout the night. Drink non-alcoholic beverages, preferably water, between alcoholic drinks. This will slow down the effects of the alcohol (but not to the degree where it’s safe to drive!).

prescription drugs

  1. Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs.

Even relatively safe drugs such as prescription and over-the-counter medications may have negative effects when combined with alcohol. Medications can also increase the effects of alcohol. Understand the effects of any medication you take and do not use any other drugs while drinking alcohol (other than what your doctor says you should take).

drinking at party

  1. Pay attention to the party.

Keep tabs on the party environment as the night goes on. If you find that most people are drinking significant amounts of alcohol, or the house is too crowded or filled with people you don’t know, or there if is any kind of harassment or aggressive behavior, then find a safe way home as soon as possible.

handing over keys

  1. Never drink and drive.

Even if you feel fine, never drive home after you’ve been drinking and don’t let anyone who’s been drinking drive you home. Stick to your original plan or backup plan that you devised before you started to drink alcoholic beverages.

non alcoholic drinks

  1. Be a cautious host.

If you’re hosting a party, make non-alcoholic drinks such water, soda and juice as readily available as alcoholic ones. Collect car keys at the door, and keep an eye on your guests. You may need to let some of your friends stay the night or find them rides home.

Are you a drunk driving victim?

No matter how responsibly you behave, there are other people on the road who are driving while intoxicated. If you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident, the personal injury attorneys at F. Craig Wilkerson can pursue your case to help you receive fair compensation. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation or call us at:

 

Designated Driver Tips: Enjoy Elegant and Delicious Mocktails

We recently reported on how designated drivers are believed to have saved 50,000 lives and prevented thousands upon thousands of lives. And, we alluded to how these drivers can enjoy mocktails – cocktails without alcohol – during their evenings out, and decided to share specific examples of the variety of options available today.

mocktail for designated drivers

Alternatives to alcoholic drinks actually became popular in the late nineteenth century due to the rise of the temperance movement. Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, earned the nickname “Lemonade Lucy” during her time as First Lady due to the couple’s refusal to serve alcohol at state dinners. When Prohibition began in 1920, law-abiding hostesses all over the country needed to follow her example and think of nonalcoholic drinks to serve at events. What to Drink, written by Bertha Stockbridge in 1920, gave hostesses a guide to creating a variety of alcohol-free cocktails. Through her fruitades, frappés, cobblers, juleps, and vinegars, Stockbridge promised drinks that “cheer but do not inebriate.” Mocktails therefore have also been called temperance cocktails and you can find more information about mocktails here.

more mocktails for designated drivers

Mocktails are once again becoming a popular alternative to alcohol-based drinks in bars and restaurants, which gives designated drivers a variety of drink options when going out. Sodas and lemonade can get boring, so here are some interesting mocktails to try next time you’re the designated driver. (You can click on the title of the drink to be taken to the recipe!)

Orange Fizz

This easy-to-make mocktail gives orange juice a little extra kick with club soda and lemon juice.

Cuddles on the Beach

Plenty of cocktails can be ordered without alcohol, but some virgin cocktails certainly taste better than others. A Sex on the Beach is relatively easy to make without alcohol. The most common change is to replace the peach schnapps with peach nectar. This recipe gives other possible variations, such as adding 7-Up or ginger ale.

Cranberry-Citrus Mocktail with Mint

This mocktail combines the flavors of orange, lime, cranberry and mint to make a refreshing, fruity drink.

Cosmo-Not

The Cosmopolitan has become a classic cocktail due to its prevalence in the show Sex and the City. It also makes a wonderful mocktail with the addition of lemon soda and grenadine.

Moscow Mule

Ginger’s sharp, spicy flavor makes it a great choice for mocktails. This simple yet delicious drink combines ginger beer, lime juice, and club soda. Keep in mind that most brands of ginger beer are nonalcoholic, but not all. Make sure you’re getting the right kind when ordering this drink.

Ginger Mojito Mocktail

The ginger ale in this mocktail gives a completely new dimension to the standard mojito.

Virgin Mai Tai

Mai Tais are a fruity, cheery cocktail that can put anyone in a good mood for the night. This version replaces the rum and orange curaçao with pineapple and orange juice.

Roy Rogers

This mocktail is named after the singer and actor Roy Rogers, who earned the moniker “King of the Cowboys” due to his role in The Roy Rogers Show. The Roy Rogers drink spices up ordinary cola with grenadine and maraschino cherries.

Cherry Coketail

The Cherry Coketail is similar to the Roy Rogers, but it adds even more flavors to cola, including vanilla, lime, and cherry syrup.

Virgin Bellini

This recipe gives the Bellini, originally invented in Venice, a tropical twist by replacing sparkling wine with lemon-lime soda.

Mermaid’s Song

With its blend of orange, pineapple, passionfruit, lime, and coconut, the Mermaid’s Song is the perfect drink for summer

Morning Call

The Morning Call also has tropical flavors, with its pineapple and lime. But the peach purée gives this drink a softer flavor.

Are You a Drunk Driving Victim?

No matter how careful you are as a designated driver, not everyone else will be, unfortunately, so drunk driving accidents will still occur. If you or a loved one becomes a drunk driving victim, contact us now. We can conduct an investigation to help you build evidence for a jury trial. Contact our South Carolina attorneys online for a free case evaluation or call us at:

Drunk Driving Tragedies in South Carolina

drunk driver

In 2015, South Carolina was named as “worst in the nation in regard to the percentage of traffic deaths involving drunk driving.” This information was derived from data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and reported in the Free Times. Looking at 2013 statistics, our state had 767 traffic deaths, 335 of which were because of drunk drivers. This was 44 percent of all traffic fatalities that year, significantly above the national average (31 percent).

There is hope that technology will play a key role in reducing these figures, with the 2014 Emma’s Law an example of how that might work. This law requires DUI offenders (first timers) with blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or more to have a special device installed on their vehicles for six months. This ignition interlock device prevents the car from starting until the driver proves he or she has not been drinking, by blowing into a device that can determine whether or not that is true. If a repeat offender is convicted of a DUI offense, the device will be installed if there is a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more.

Fewer Drunk Driving Victims in the Future?

There is hope that, relatively soon, technology will exist that can tell if a driver is drunk without any need for blowing in a tube, and prevent vehicles from starting whenever it’s appropriate. One proposed solution would be the incorporation of sensors in vehicles that can detect ethanol content on the breath, with the sensors located in the steering column or roof. Current systems can measure this using infrared lighting at a distance of two to three inches from the driver’s mouth, but a longer distance needs to be measured for this to be truly effective.

Another option is a push-button system that detects blood-level alcohol by touch. Infrared lasers would be shined into the finger’s capillaries as the driver pushes a button to start his or her car. This technology is promising, but higher-tech versions will need to be created for mass production purposes. Seventeen car manufacturers are involved in development of these systems, and they may eventually become standard vehicle fittings, perhaps even mandatory.

Do You Need a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney?

In the meantime, there are far too many accidents caused by drunk driving, ones that often end up in catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one have been affected, you need an experienced attorney to aggressively pursue compensation for your injuries.

Because juries do not typically look favorably upon drunk drivers, especially those that injure other people, drunk driving victims can be awarded punitive damages in addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

At the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr., we provide victims with dedicated representation and a thorough investigation. This can include taking photos of the accident scene, reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, or whatever else is needed for your specific situation. This is how we build evidence for a jury trial.

If you need help in bringing a personal injury claim against someone who drove drunk – and his or her insurer – contact our drunk driving accident lawyer team online. Or call us today:

And, because drunk driving accidents unfortunately also lead to fatalities, we’re providing information about our wrongful death legal services, too.

South Carolina Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

drunk driving accident

Representing Drunk Driving Victims

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash once every two minutes, with 27 of them dying every single day in the United States. This happens, in part, because 50 to 75 percent of people who have had their license suspended because of drunk driving continue to drive.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, you naturally want justice. Fortunately, the drunk driving accident attorneys at the law firm of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. are highly experienced in getting just that.

So, contact us for a free case evaluation now.

It’s Time to Hold Drunk Drivers Accountable

Drunk drivers wreak havoc with innocent people’s live, with alcohol being the cause of 3,870 drunk driving victims dying in South Carolina alone from 2003-2012. They also cause innumerable injuries that lead to significant medical expenses. If you or a loved one have been victimized in this way, contact us to discuss filing a lawsuit to recover medical costs and lost wages. We’ll also discuss pain and suffering and emotional distress, and how those concepts apply to your case.

Contact us online or call us today at:

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  • Fort Mill (803-396-5200)
  • Lancaster (803-289-7202)
  • Cherokee County (864-210-1779)
  • Chesterfield (843-633-1588)
  • Colleton (843-536-8682)
  • Darlington (843-574-8845)
  • Fairfield County (803-592-0846)
  • Kershaw (803-675-7189)
  • Lee (803-748-2683)
  • Orangeburg (803-937-3631)
  • Richland County (803-748-2581)
  • Sumter (803-250-2560)
  • Union County (803-642-1614)
  • Williamsburg (843-900-4209)

What Our Law Firm Does

After providing you with a free case evaluation, we then get to work investigating the specifics of your situation and gathering appropriate evidence. This involves visiting the scene of the accident, plus interviewing witnesses, researching relevant case law when necessary, filing pleadings and motions, deposing witnesses and more. Whether your case goes to trial or is settled ahead of a court date, we will represent you and advocate for you throughout the entire process.

Contact our drunk driving accident attorneys online or call us today.