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Drinking and driving during this holiday season

As soon as the summer ends, we enter a string of holidays that makes the fall and beginning of winter fun and exciting. It's really a festive time for family and friends. The run of holidays lasts all the way until New Year's Day, when we move forward into the next year with those warm holiday memories now behind us.

Unfortunately, the holidays also bring an increase in drunk driving accidents. During this time for fun and good cheer, you may be facing dangers that could ruin the season for you or your family members. To better understand the true scope of this problem -- people often ignore it, just writing off drinking as part of the holidays -- here are a few key facts to keep in mind.

  • Half of all people who have family gatherings over the holidays say that they drink alcohol at these gatherings.
  • At the same time, a full 96 percent of people say alcohol use is so common that they know someone who has come to work with a hangover -- or they have done it themselves.
  • During the majority of the year, drunk driving accidents lead to around 28 percent of traffic fatalities. Over the holidays, that jumps all the way up to 40 percent.
  • Even days that are not technically holidays lead to increased drinking. For instance, the so-called "Blackout Wednesday" right before Thanksgiving sees more drinking than St. Patrick's Day and New Year's Eve. It is thought of as one of the biggest bar nights of the year.
  • Even so, when looking at New Year's, you'll find that a stunning 58 percent of traffic fatalities can get linked back to alcohol.
  • When drunk drivers talk about their habits over the holidays, the majority of them say that they drink more during that time of year.
  • From Thanksgiving Day until the start of the new year, the amount of fatal DUI accidents will go up by around two or three times, compared to the rest of the year.
  • While around 1,200 people die annually in these crashes, another 25,000 people suffer injuries that require medical treatment.

These are just a few statistics, but they paint a fairly comprehensive picture. People absolutely drink more during this part of the year, and that means more drunk drivers take to the roads. This is an epidemic that repeats itself year after year. It takes lives and puts people in the hospital.

Even if you practice safe, sober driving, you could get hit by one of these drivers. Make sure you know all of the legal options you have to seek compensation for your medical bills and any other costs.

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