According to CBS Boston, state police reported that there were no fatal auto accidents on Massachusetts’ highways over the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend. The lack of crashes is a major victory because Thanksgiving historically kicks off the most dangerous time of year for traffic fatalities.
The highways were likely safer this holiday season because of the large number of state troopers out across the state. The troopers were cracking down on drunk drivers and their efforts in Massachusetts weren’t the only enforcement efforts going on over the holidays. State police throughout the six New England states have all joined forces this holiday season to enforce safe driving rules and to raise awareness among the public in the hopes that fatal accidents can be reduced during the holidays. The combined efforts of state police focus on preventing three behaviors: distracted driving, impaired driving and aggressive driving.
Our Boston car accident attorneys want to remind everyone this holiday season to take the safety rules seriously. Not only will you be dealing with police on the highways, but you also put your life at risk when you engage in dangerous driving behavior. To help you stay safe this holiday season, we’re discussing each of the three driving behaviors the police have identified as contributing factors in crashes. Today’s focus on holiday traffic safety is on the dangers of impaired driving.
The Dangers of Impaired Driving
The dangers of drunk driving are well-known to everyone and campaigns against drunk drivers are widely publicized. Yet, despite the strict laws and the strict penalties that drunk drivers face, people continue to get behind the wheel when they are drunk. In fact, according to the CBS News report, 13 people were arrested and 288 ticketed along Routes 24 and 195 in Southeastern Michigan on the Friday and Saturday nights following Thanksgiving. DUI checkpoints in Lowell on Friday and Canton on Saturday also resulted in 21 arrests for operating under the influence (OUI).
While there were no fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend due to drunk drivers, deaths still continue to occur as a result of impaired drivers in Massachusetts. In fact, according to the Century Council, there were 114 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2010, 14 of which involved people 21 and younger.
Avoiding Drunk Driving This Holiday Season
Drunk driving is never OK and you face far too many consequences to even consider getting behind the wheel drunk. In addition to arrest and criminal penalties, you could also kill yourself or someone else. To make sure you never are in a position where you might be tempted to drive drunk:
- Always take a designated driver with you if you are planning to drink.
- Never let a friend drive while intoxicated- take away his keys if you have to.
- Parents should remind children that they can call them any time for a ride, no questions asked, rather than getting into the car with a drunk driver.
- Have cab money and the number of a cab company with you whenever you are going out somewhere where you might be tempted to drink.
- Err on the side of caution and have a rule that if you have more than one or two drinks, you will not drive.
By making smart choices and having a plan in place before you start your holiday celebrating, you can avoid contributing to the problem of drunk drivers. You should also be cautious of the possibility that others may be driving while intoxicated- especially when driving late at night in areas near clubs or bars. Finally, if you or a loved one is injured by a drunk driver, remember that you have legal rights and can hold that driver accountable.