Holidays are a time of celebration, but each year, there are people who don’t make it home from their holiday party or who end up with severe injuries due to an alcohol-related accident. The holidays are a common time for an increase in DUIs and DUI-related accidents due to the larger number of people on the road, more people going to holiday parties, and more people making poor decisions when it’s time to go home after they’ve been drinking. Read below to learn more about DUI charges and accidents, and what to do if you’re injured by a drunk driver.
How Much Do DUI-Related Accidents Increase?
The most common way for people to get around during the holidays is by driving. In recent years, distracted driving has been the main cause of fatal accidents, but alcohol-related crashes are far more common around the holidays. Those driving to their family’s home or coming home from a party are at a higher risk of being hit by a drunk driver just because of the increase of people drinking at parties and the higher number of drivers on the road.
Around a quarter of adults say they drink more during the holidays than they normally would. Because of this, around 40% of fatal accidents on highways are related to alcohol. During the winter holiday season, more than 25,000 people will end up injured because of a DUI-related accident. Though accidents do increase throughout the holiday season, the deadliest day is New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Day, more than half of all fatal accidents are related to alcohol.
Residents in Rock Hill, South Carolina, will notice an increase in the number of people on the road during the month of December. It’s during this time that the potential for an accident to occur increases as everyone is doing their normal driving plus heading out to purchase gifts, get together with their family, or head to a party with their friends. Rock Hill does see an increase in DUI-related accidents during the holidays, so driving as safely as possible is crucial for having a great holiday season.
Penalties Imposed for DUI Convictions
It is important for all drivers to understand the penalties they may face if they decide to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking. In Rock Hill, there are various penalties in place for drivers, with increasing severity based on the specific case and the number of times the driver has previously been convicted of a DUI.
If someone is convicted of their first DUI, they can expect to spend between two days and 30 days in jail. If their BAC was more than .10% but less than .16%, they might be sentenced to seven to 30 days in jail. For a higher BAC, jail time increases to 30 to 90 days. It may be possible to do community service in lieu of jail.
Fines and Fees
Depending on the driver’s BAC (blood-alcohol content), they may pay between $400 and $1000 in fines. This is on top of administrative fees, legal fees, driver’s license fees, and more. A DUI conviction is incredibly expensive to handle, with many people paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees by the time they’re done.
Evaluation and Treatment
South Carolina requires anyone convicted of a DUI to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. During this, they will receive a drug and alcohol evaluation and must follow through with any treatment options that are recommended.
Drivers will have their license suspended for six months, though they may receive a provisional license allowing them to drive at certain times and to certain locations. Drivers with a BAC of .15% or higher can’t receive a provisional license, though they are able to drive with an IID (interlock ignition device) after their conviction.
Avoid Driving After Drinking
With the high penalties and the potential to cause a serious accident, it is much better for Rock Hill drivers to look into alternative transportation options that may be available. Some of the options to consider include the following.
Choosing a designated driver allows everyone in the group to make sure they have a safe way to get home. Everyone can take a turn being the designated driver for a different event or, if there is someone who doesn’t drink, they may volunteer to help others get home safely.
Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft are a great way to get to and from any events during the holiday season, and there’s no need to worry about getting home after a night of drinking. Rides can be arranged ahead of time for worry-free fun during any event or party.
During the holidays, towing companies in Rock Hill may offer free rides home to those who have a couple of drinks and realize they shouldn’t drive home. Many times, the towing company will offer a free tow for a certain amount of miles to make sure the person and their vehicle get home safely.
Why not just stay there? When planning an event or party where drinking will occur, consider hosting it at a hotel. When the party winds down, everyone can go to their room for the night, so there’s no need to worry about anyone drinking and driving.
Despite working hard to stay safe during the holidays, it’s possible to be hit by a drunk driver due to the increase of drivers on the roads. When an accident does occur, the first step should be to request emergency assistance. An officer should arrive to figure out what happened and create a report which may be needed if the victim requests compensation from the at-fault driver. The officer can also determine if any of the drivers are under the influence and may make an arrest if the person who caused the accident was drinking before they got behind the wheel.
If someone has severe injuries, they will need emergency medical assistance and may leave the scene in an ambulance or other emergency vehicle. Those who have minor injuries may want to take photos or videos of the scene in case they’re needed later. It’s also important to write down everything that happened as soon as possible after the accident to avoid forgetting any details.
Once everything is handled at the scene of the accident and the injured person has received medical care, they can start talking to a lawyer about their case. It is likely the injured person will have significant expenses related to the accident, including medical costs, property damage, lost wages, and more. A lawyer can help them receive the compensation they need from the at-fault driver to recover financially from the accident.
Holiday fun means more people are on the road, and the increase in drivers can lead to an increase in drunk driving, especially as people head to parties or visit with their families. Unfortunately, this does lead to an increase in drunk driving accidents. If you are injured because of an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be owed compensation for any injuries or damages. Contact the Law Offices Wilkerson, Jones & Wilkerson by phone at 803-324-7200 or online for a FREE case consultation.
At Wilkerson, Jones & Wilkerson, we’re BIG enough to fight, but small enough to care about you!