That statistic really did shock me. When I think of all the possible causes of car accidents – bad road conditions, poor visibility, vehicle problems – it’s extremely sad to think that close to a third of road fatalities are linked to a condition that is totally under individual control. From an early age, even children know you don’t drink and drive.
I started to think about this topic for two reasons: One, I keep tabs on the Day On Torts blog by attorney John Day. Last week John posted an entry about his state, Tennessee, and the prevalence of alcohol-related vehicle accidents there. John related how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks detailed accident information for every state. So, of course, I went to check out New York’s figures.
According to the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, there were 1,231 people killed on New York state roads in 2008. Of those fatalities, 341 of them involved at least one driver who had a blood alcohol level of 0.8 or greater.
The second reason: It’s the season. A big part of the holidays are festive gatherings of colleagues, families and friends. Many adults enjoy raising their spirits with spirits – and as John says, “No one is saying that you should not be able to enjoy the holiday season and that, if you are an adult, you cannot enjoy alcohol as a part of celebration of the season.”
Who would deny his final point: “You have no right to place the lives of others at risk because you choose to operate a vehicle while you are impaired.”
It’s simple. Act responsibly – plan a place to stay, designate a sober driver, keep that cab company card in your wallet. Take steps while you are in a clear state of mind and the preparation will serve you well when your thinking might be clouded by alcohol.
Nationwide, 11,773 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2008. Do what you can this holiday season to act responsibly and get others to do so as well. Hopefully the effort will pay off in much lower numbers when the NHTSA tallies up 2009.
Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know