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California Drunk Driving Crashes Spike on Labor Day Weekend

Many Americans celebrate the unofficial end of summer with cookouts, beach parties, and other activities that often involve alcohol. As a result, Labor Day is also one of the deadliest weekends of the year in terms of drunk-driving fatalities.

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). In 2014, these preventable crashes claimed the lives of 9,967 people. In fact, on average, more than 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2014) in impaired-driving crashes.

Drunk driving crashes are particularly common over holiday weekends. Over the Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 29 – 5:59 a.m. September 2) in 2014, there were 401 crash fatalities on roadways across the country. Nearly half of the deadly crashes involved drivers who had consumed alcohol. In addition, 40 percent involved drivers who were legally, drunk and more than a fourth involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the illegal limit.

Impaired driving is more likely to occur at night. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.

Given the risks of a California drunk driving crash, we urge all of our readers to celebrate responsibly. Below are a few tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Include a sober driver — someone who will not be drinking at all — in your party plans.
  • Use NHTSA’s new SaferRide mobile app. The app helps people who have been drinking get a safe ride home by helping users call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up.
  • Consider getting a sober ride to your destination, so you won’t even have the option later to drive impaired.
  • Make sure your designated driver is sober, not just less intoxicated than you.
  • Don’t let others drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home too.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; book a ride share, call a cab, friend, or family member to come get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car accident caused by a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.