Drunk Drivers Put Holiday Travelers at Risk in Missouri

 

Drunk Drivers Put Holiday Travelers at Risk in Missouri

AAA estimates a record 43 million Americans are traveling at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving – the most that have taken to the roads in seven years. Gas prices are under $3 a gallon and the recovering economy means people have a little extra in their pockets with which to take a trip.

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While everyone looks forward to the amazing food, the time with family and a four-day weekend, the truth is Thanksgiving is the No. 1 most dangerous holiday of the year for those on the road. Not only are travelers coping with congestion, the roads are more likely to be slick or snowy, other drivers are in a hurry, fatigued or distracted and a far larger number than average are drunk.

In fact, traffic fatality data from the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that since 1982, the average number of roadway deaths on Thanksgiving Day is around 567. Of those, approximately 41 percent involved drunk drivers. Compare that to the average number of traffic deaths any other random day of the year: 102.

Our St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyers know the consequences can be devastating.

Just take for example the recent criminal sentencing of a drunk driver whose actions resulted in one death, one critical injury and a prison term of seven years for himself. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 38-year-old defendant was speeding at 88 mph and ran a red light on Euclid Avenue while driving a sport-utility vehicle. His blood-alcohol level was later determined to be 0.251 percent – more than triple the legal limit. The subsequent impact with another vehicle killed the 53-year-old passenger of the other car, and seriously injured the 56-year-old driver, who suffered damage to her brain, spleen, kidneys, spine, pelvis, legs, liver and other parts of her body. The at-fault driver attempted to flee on foot, but was caught soon thereafter by a sergeant.

At the driver’s sentencing on convictions for involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and careless and imprudent driving, the sister of the female victim reported the agonizing months of extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation her sister has endured.

“This did not have to happen,” she astutely noted.

Nor does it have to happen this Thanksgiving, either. Some refer to the evening before Thanksgiving as “Blackout Wednesday,” as there are so many people who imbibe excessively that night.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association offers the following safety tips to avoid a collision:

    • Avoid drivers who show signs of intoxication, such as inconsistent speed or swerving. If you have been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. Call a taxi or car service. (Bear in mind this is about 100 times cheaper than the cost of a DUI – not including if you wreck and seriously injure or kill someone.)
    • Keep your vehicle in good working condition so you can effectively respond to the sudden and erratic behavior of other drivers.
    • Always wear your seat belt, and make sure children are secured in appropriate safety restraints.
    • Plan your travel and route ahead of time and leave early if possible.

Additional Resources:
St. Louis man gets seven years for 2013 drunk driving crash that killed man, injured woman, Nov. 12, 2014, Staff Report, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

More Blog Entries:
Teen Driver Safety Spotlighted as School Year Begins, Sept. 15, 2014, St. Louis Crash Lawyer Blog

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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