The holiday season is the deadliest season when it comes to drunk driving.
Winter driving in Massachusetts requires a very alert driver to keep everyone on the road safe. The streets will likely be snowy, icy, and wet throughout December, January, and February. These road conditions, combined with reduced visibility, make car accidents much more common in the winter. About 20% of all crashes year-round happen in snowy conditions.
Dangerous winter road conditions also make distracted drivers much more risky in the winter. Even worse than distracted driving is drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs of any kind – yes, even legalized drugs such as marijuana.
The poor road conditions and lessened visibility that come with Massachusetts’ winters mean drivers must be more alert and careful during the winter months. Unfortunately, at the same time as when the most attentive and alert drivers are needed, there is also an increase in people who drive while drunk or under the influence. Drunk driving is always extremely dangerous, but the road conditions in the winter can make it even more hazardous for drunk drivers themselves and any other driver they may encounter on the roadways.
If you were injured in a Massachusetts car accident with a drunk driver, call or text our office for a free consultation at (617) 889-5000. We will review your case for free, explain your legal options, give you advice, and explain how we can help you recover compensation for your medical bills and injuries. If a family member or loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, we can also represent you in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Drunk Driving and OUI Accidents Increase During the Holiday Season in Massachusetts
The possibility of being injured in a drunk-driver-related crash increases during the holiday season. About one-third of all deadly car crashes involve a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Unfortunately, car accidents with injuries or deaths involving drunk drivers are expected during the holiday season. The increase in alcohol-related car crashes during the holiday season increases the chances of being hit by a drunk driver in Massachusetts. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, drunk drivers are estimated to cause 25,000 injuries in car crashes, according to NHTSA.
Part of the increase in alcohol-related car crashes during the holiday season is simple: people are drinking more. Some reports indicate one-fourth of the alcohol industry’s profits are made from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. That means ¼ of all alcohol profits are made in about five weeks.
According to the CDC, even 1 in 10 high schoolers will drink and drive. This is especially dangerous in the winter and holiday season as teen drivers are already less experienced drivers, more likely to be distracted, and are now driving with more dangerous road conditions on top of drinking alcohol.
Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics
During the winter holiday season, 40% of all deadly highway car accidents involve alcohol. Year-round, up to 30 people nationwide die in a car crash involving drunk drivers each day. This daily death toll increases dramatically on holidays. Drunk driving is a serious problem, with as many as two in every three people involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime.
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the winter holiday season and the most popular holiday for travel all year. The night before Thanksgiving is also one of the busiest nights for bars. The increased travel and drinking at bars make driving around Thanksgiving more dangerous. About 130 Americans died in car crashes with drunk drivers over Thanksgiving weekend in 2019.
More than 830 people died in car crashes with a drunk driver between 2017 and 2021 during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to NHTSA. About 50% of passengers who were killed were not wearing seatbelts.
Christmas Day also has an uptick in car crashes with drunk drivers. In 2019, nearly 150 Americans died in fatal alcohol-related car crashes on Christmas Day. In all of December, NHTSA estimates that 28% of all fatal car crashes involve drunk drivers.
The Most Dangerous Day to Drive in Massachusetts
New Year's Eve is the single day all year round with the highest rate of alcohol-related car accidents with injuries or deaths. On New Year's Eve, the chances of a drunk driver causing a fatal car accident are the highest of the year. More than 120 Americans died in car crashes involving drunk drivers on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
As the deadliest day of the year for alcohol-related crashes, about 60% of all car crashes on New Year’s Day are alcohol-related, according to AAA.
New Year's Day is also the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrians.
Increase in OUI Arrests Around the Holidays
The holiday season is notorious for drunk and impaired driving, State Police from New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts announced in November. State Police increase patrols during the holiday times, especially over Thanksgiving. In New Hampshire, seven people died and 13 were injured in car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday period over four years. Of the seven deadly crashes, four involved impaired drivers.
In Massachusetts, 33 people were killed in fatal car crashes during November 2022 alone. An additional 284 people were injured in Massachusetts car crashes in November.
Because of the increase in drunk and impaired driving, police increase drunk driving patrols and make more OUI arrests as a result to help keep the roads safe.
Every December in Massachusetts, the Office of Grants and Research partners with police agencies in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” law enforcement campaign. Grants were recently awarded to 125 local police departments and the Massachusetts State Police agency to increase impaired driving enforcement with overtime patrols to specifically target drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs during the holiday season.
Massachusetts also has an educational campaign called “Wisdom” that features local cannabis users and their experiences and thoughts on driving after smoking marijuana or consuming cannabis. The campaign's central message is: “If you feel different, you drive different.”
Holiday Travel Safety Tips
While many people fly or take trains for holiday travel, car and road trips are still the most popular way to travel for the holidays. This increase in travel, whether locally or for long distances, also makes the roads less safe. More than 90 million Americans take a road trip between December 23 and January 1, and about 42 million Americans travel by car for Thanksgiving, according to AAA.
Safety Tips to Avoid Drunk Drivers in Massachusetts During the Holidays
If you plan to drive around the holidays – whether just going out for a meal, to your work’s holiday party, or visiting family and friends – there are some things you can do to help defend yourself from drunk drivers.
- Plan Ahead: If you think you might drink while you are out, always designate a driver who won’t be drinking or make other plans to get home – such as taking a Lyft or Uber or setting up a ride with a friend or family member.
- Make Sure Your Car is in Winter Driving Shape: Getting your car checked out before the snowy season is always a good idea to try to prevent any breakdowns or issues that could happen, especially if you plan to travel for the holidays.
- Avoid Driving Late At Night: The most dangerous driving time is after midnight. If you are traveling locally, try to be home by midnight. If you are on a road trip, the best way to avoid drunk drivers is to stop at a hotel or rest area for the night.
- Always Buckle: Wearing a seatbelt is the number one way to protect yourself while driving or as a passenger in a car. Wearing your seatbelt will also help prevent airbag injuries in a car accident.
- Don’t Drive Exhausted: It’s always important to be an alert driver, especially during the winter and when more drunk drivers are on Massachusetts roads. Always make sure you are alert and avoid driving while drowsy or tired.
As a driver, it's essential to know that you will not make good decisions while intoxicated, and there is no way to sober up faster. Don’t underestimate the effect alcohol can have on you, your ability to be present, and to make wise decisions. If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. If you drove somewhere already – make sure to think and make a plan to get home safely if you do decide to drink. Drinking and driving is never a good idea, even if you are not “drunk” or think you are “OK to drive.”
This year, a Massachusetts town is offering free rides and tows to curb drunk driving during the holidays. In Chelmsford, Massachusetts police and a local towing business are working together to provide rides and tows to people under the influence who cannot get themselves or their cars home safely. The “Tow Drunk to Drive” program began in 2015 and runs from the day before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. A lift and tow is available to anyone under the influence at any time of day from a private residence or business in Chelmsford to anywhere in Merrimack Valley.
If you plan to host a holiday party with alcohol, also offer a variety of non-alcoholic drinks or mocktail options for your guests. Providing food and snacks can also help slow the absorption of alcohol in the body. Have a plan in place for helping people get home safely. Consider having a designated driver at the party to drive people home or arrange for taxis, Ubers, or Lyfts for guests.
If you are a parent, the holiday season is also a great time to have a conversation with your kids about underage drinking and safety, especially if you have teenagers who drive.
Did A Drunk Driver Injure you? Massachusetts Car Accident Attorney Explains Your Rights
If you or a loved one were hurt in a drunk-driving car crash, learn your rights by speaking with a car accident attorney.
Car accidents are always severe and scary events, and this is only worsened if the accident involves being hit by a drunk or impaired driver. Whether you were involved in a fender bender or a major wreck, you now likely have injuries to heal and legal rights to fight for.
After being injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, you have the right to:
- Pursue a claim against the bar or restaurant where the driver drank alcohol if they were responsible for putting a drunk driver on the road while intoxicated.
- Have your medical bills covered by the insurance of the driver who caused the accident.
- Be paid for time lost from work.
- Be compensated for your injuries even if you were partially at fault for the accident.
- Be compensated for chronic pain.
- And much more!
If a drunk driver hit you, call or text our experienced car accident attorneys at (617) 889-5000 for a free review of your case to learn about your legal options and rights specific to your accident and injuries.
Call an Uber or Lyft: A Safe Way to Travel This Holiday Season
At the end of the day, there is no excuse for drunk driving, especially with so many other transportation options available these days, such as public transit, Lyft, and Uber. Planning not to drive when you drink is a perfect way to prevent a drunk driving accident.
If you plan to go anywhere and drink alcohol or consume marijuana or other drugs, plan to get home safely by calling an Uber or Lyft to get to your destination in the first place. This way, you won’t be tempted to drive yourself home or think that you’re “OK” enough to drive.
You can always have a designated driver or plan for public transportation options. But an Uber or Lyft is a great option to get you from door to door safely and is a great way to put your safety in your own hands.
What if a Drunk Driver Injured me While I was a Passenger in an Uber or Lyft?
Especially with the increase in drunk driving and accidents caused by impaired drivers in the holiday season, the unfortunate reality is that anyone on Massachusetts roadways is more likely to be involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
Even if you did everything right and planned to travel with an Uber or Lyft to your holiday gatherings and events, it is still possible that you could be involved in a car crash caused by a drunk driver while riding in an Uber or Lyft.
If you were injured by a drunk driver while riding in a Lyft or Uber, you still have rights and options. Accidents with rideshare companies are more complicated than a typical car accident case, but Spada Law has experience handling Uber and Lyft accident and injury cases. While being involved in a car accident of any kind is never good news, the “good news” about being injured in an Uber or Lyft is that as a passenger, you should be covered by a $1 Million liability insurance policy held by the rideshare company.
This means there is more money available to you to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, the cost of ongoing medical care, your chronic pain and suffering, and more.
Reach Out to Our Car Accident and Injury Attorney for a FREE Consultation if You Were Injured in a Boston or Massachusetts Crash With a Drunk Driver
Car accidents are always terrifying and can result in serious injuries — especially if you were injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.
Being injured in a car crash is hard enough. You have doctor’s visits, possible surgeries, and physical therapy to manage so you can heal.
But navigating the legal process and dealing with insurance companies doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful.
If you or a loved one were injured in a Massachusetts car crash, you have rights and may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering, and more. Our car accident attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way.
Over the last three decades, we’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts get the recovery they need after a car accident injury. Recently, Boston Magazine named Attorney Spada one of Boston’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case. We’re here and ready to help.
We have three offices but proudly serve the entire state with the ability to meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your drunk driver car accident and injuries and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your situation occurs.