Drunk driving is a major problem any time of the year in Illinois. However, around the holidays the incidence of drunk driving sharply increases and the problem becomes even more obvious than normal. Usually conservative individuals often consume more alcohol than normal as they celebrate with family and friends. Work holiday parties and social gatherings occur more often, leading many people to drink more, and with increased a greater frequency than they would usually choose to do. However, an inadequate number of people properly prepare for the extra festivities by procuring a sober designated driver or by calling for alternative transportation home. The resulting drunk driving accidents can be devastating for all involved.
Drunk driving accidents
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the number of people killed on the nation’s roads differs significantly from other times of the year. One report found that an average of 36 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents every day in the U.S. During the Christmas period, that number jumps to 45 deaths per day, and further increases to 54 fatalities per day during the New Year holiday. Another study found that nearly 600 deaths occur annually on the Thanksgiving holiday. This makes the four day period the most dangerous time for those traveling U.S. roads. Researchers found that 36 percent of those deaths were alcohol-related.
Illinois generally follows the national trends as well. In December 2011, there were 73 alcohol related crashes. These crashes resulted in 85 deaths and accounted for 38 percent of alcohol-related driving fatalities around Christmas, and 33 percent around New Years. On Thanksgiving, 50 percent of fatalities were related to alcohol use, the second- largest percentage seen around the state all year long.
A DUI-related collision can have serious consequences for many families. On Christmas Eve of 2013, a drunk motorist caused a car accident that claimed the life of his 8-year-old daughter. The Sun Times reports that the Chicago man allegedly crashed his vehicle into a tree after speeding so recklessly that the roof of the car was smashed below the level of the seat. The man had a blood alcohol content of 0.137 at the scene of the accident and was charged with aggravated DUI leading to an accident or death, negligent driving, failure to reduce speed, and violating child restraint laws.
When drunk driving accidents occur, they are needless and devastating, especially because they are completely preventable in nature. Those who have sustained a serious injury or whose loved ones have died in a drunk driving accident in Chicago can contact a personal injury attorney to review their case. They may be entitled to receive compensation for their loss.