New Year’s Eve parties are a time to spend with family and friends, stay up late, and possibly ring in the New Year with a glass (or more) of champagne.
Whether you plan to host a party or drive to someone’s party for the holiday, make sure there are designated drivers on hand or Ubers ready to take your guests home. Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve is a prime time for DUI-related accidents, and many of those accidents are fatal.
Before you drink and drive or let your guest leave intoxicated, you should consider these sobering facts.
Sobering Statistics for Anyone Who Might Drink and Drive This New Year’s in Spokane
The statistics out there are enough to make anyone rethink drinking and driving. Here are just a few you should know before your New Year’s Eve party this year:
- Every day, people are driving under the influence more than 300,000 times, but only 3,200 of those individuals are caught and arrested.
- In 2013, a total of 1,149 children were killed in crashes. Out of those children, 17 percent were from DUI-related crashes and 61 percent were children in the car with the drunk driver.
- Adults drink and drive about 121 million times per year, which accounts for more than 300,000 incidents of DUIs per day.
- Almost half the drivers tested positive for drugs or alcohol when they died in a motor vehicle accident.
- In 2014, 10.1 million people drove under the influence of drugs in the past year.
- You do not sober up taking a cold shower or drinking coffee; instead, it requires time.
- The highest percentage of drunk driving offenders are ages 21 to 24, followed by ages 25 to 34.
- In 2014, it was found that males were three times more likely to be arrested for a DUI than females.
- DUIs cost Americans $132 billion per year.
- In 2016, a total of 10,497 people died in DUI-related accidents, which adds up to one person dying every 50 minutes from a DUI. Furthermore, 290,000 were injured by DUI accidents in 2016.
These statistics were accumulated from the stats posted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Hosting a Party? Social Host Liability Applies in Washington
If you plan to host a party this New Year’s Eve, did you know that a drunken driver allowed to leave your home and injure someone on the road could fall on you? You might not have forced them to drive, but you supplied the alcohol and allowed them to leave knowing they were intoxicated. Therefore, the court allows the victim to seek damages from you as well.
Washington state has unique laws in place, known informally as “dram shop” laws. Under Revised Code Washington Section 66.44.270, no one can knowingly sell or vendor alcohol to a minor under the age of 21. Therefore, make sure no children at your party engage in drinking and do not serve them if you know they are under 21.
Social host liability is another risk for someone hosting a New Year’s Eve party. These differ from dram shop cases because social host liability is specific to private residences – not licensed vendors.
The Law Only Applies to DUIs for Drivers Under 21
In Washington, if the driver is over the age of 21, regardless of how intoxicated they were, you are not liable for the accidents they might cause. However, that does not mean you should knowingly allow obviously inebriated drivers to leave your party and add to the statistics.
Instead, line up designated drivers or call a cab, Uber, Lyft, or another on-demand service to take your guests home. Not only will you keep them safe, but you can do your part to ring in the new year without risking public safety at the same time.
Think Twice before Driving Drunk
If you attend parties this New Year’s Eve, think twice about driving. Not only could you be arrested for a DUI (which means jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, and fines), but you could also face civil penalties. When you cause an accident while intoxicated, you can seriously injure someone in the other vehicle. That person has the right to hold you financially responsible for their costs, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages.
Because you are knowingly breaking the law and you chose to drive while intoxicated, the court might grant punitive damages. These are designed to punish you and could be a significant financial hit to you or your insurance company.
Furthermore, if you were to cause a fatality in a drunk driving-related accident, you could be sued for a wrongful death. This means you will have to not only pay the costs of that death, but the losses to the family.
Injured by a Drunk Driver? Hold Them Accountable, Now
If you or a loved one is injured during this New Year’s Eve celebration by a drunk driver, you have the right to hold them financially accountable.
Even if they have been arrested, do not rely on the courts to seek compensation. Instead, you must speak with an injury attorney and file a civil claim to request compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
To explore your options, speak with an attorney from Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC.
Our advocates have been representing clients in DUI accidents and wrongful death claims for years. We understand how devastating a DUI accident can be, and we want to ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover. While no amount of money will help you forget the trauma you have endured, our team strives to relieve the financial pressure and help you and your loved ones move on.
To see if you have a case, schedule a free case evaluation with our team at 206-922-4197 or you may request more information about our firm online.