St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally marked by a huge uptick in alcohol consumption as revelers flock to bars, parties, and downtown areas. Around 57% of Americans plan to celebrate on March 17, and for many, this means drinking. It is the highest-grossing day of the year for many bars and restaurants, with beer sales skyrocketing to 174% of their norm. At this early sign of spring, many are eager to get out into the world this year.
Unfortunately, due to these crowds, there will also be an uptick in drunk driving throughout the day. Crashes are a tragic effect caused by mass celebrations, but there are key steps you can take to protect yourself, whether you are planning on joining the festivities or are just going about your day.
The first step to making the roads safer is obviously prevention. With the rise of ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber, people have more access to safe transportation than ever while drinking alcohol. The average cost of a Lyft in the Miami area is just $0.86 per mile, plus $0.18 per minute and a $0.98 base fare. The average cost of a DUI charge in the USA is $10,000.
Those found guilty of driving over the legal limit are also subject to arrest, jail time and severe legal punishments under the law. A DUI can have long-term impacts on your life. Under Florida law, such a charge stays on driving records for 75 years, and on average increases annual insurance costs by over $1,000. It could also restrict your ability to travel, and you may not be able to visit places like Canada, Mexico, Japan, or Dubai, among others, with a DUI on your record.
However, some unwise few will inevitably end up behind the wheel after having too much to drink, and though law enforcement does their best to curb this trend, sober drivers and commuters will have to be more vigilant on the roads.
Buckling up is an essential step to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. On St. Patrick’s day in 2019, 57 people died from drunk driving crashes, but seat belts increase the likelihood of surviving an impact by 45%. That is a marked increase in safety and survivability for such a small step in your routine to consider.
There are also tools available to report drunk driving if someone is being unsafe on the roads around you. In the State of Florida, drivers can dial *347 to contact Florida Highway Patrol and make a report to get them off the road. Outside of that, the best thing to do is always avoid a dangerous driver and give them space, rather than trying to get ahead of them.
If a drunk driver is in front of you, slow down and keep a generous distance between you. If they are behind you, it is safer to turn right at the earliest opportunity and let them pass rather than speeding up and trying to stay ahead.
Other things to consider would be to avoid downtown areas or strips with multiple bars for the day. If such areas are part of your daily routine, there are many steps available to ensure safety for everyone on St. Patrick’s Day, and we at McCullough & Leboff wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday.
If you’ve recently been involved in a crash with a drunk driver, reach out to an experienced Florida car accident attorney. At McCullough & Leboff, P.A., our attorneys have years of experience representing accident victims, and we commit ourselves to obtaining a fair settlement to cover your medical bills and property damage. To schedule a free consultation, call us or complete our contact form.