Did You Know: Richmonders have a 64% chance of
being injured or killed when involved in a DUI accident
“Get Me Home Safe” Campaign
The Virginia law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen wants to make sure Richmonders stay safe this holiday season and avoid the dangerous and costly implications of drinking and driving. To raise awareness about the elevated dangers of DUI during the holidays, we launched the "Get Me Home Safe" campaign to provide useful information about the realities of driving under the influence. We encourage you to participate by pledging to serve as a designated driver this season, and by sharing your pledge on social media with the tag #GetMeHomeSafe.
Drunk Driving is Dangerous
The dangers of driving under the influence are obvious to most drivers, however those who choose do drink and drive will certainly be sobered by the horrifying facts of the DUI statistics, which portray the extreme risk drink and driving can have. If a driver in the metro Richmond area has a crash, there is a 61% chance they will be injured and a 3% chance they will die. In fact, over 50% of all fatal accidents in the Richmond metropolitan area were alcohol related.
- In the U.S. 28 people die every day in drunk driving accidents.
- Men are statistically more likely to drink and drive than women.
- In 2013, fatal accidents involving alcohol were 4 times more likely to occur at night.
- In the U.S., 1 out of every 139 drivers is arrested annually for driving under the influence.
- Roughly 3 out of every 10 Americans will be in an alcohol-related traffic accident.
- Over 40% of the total number of traffic fatalities each year are alcohol-related.
- Each year, Americans take over 159 million alcohol-impaired driving trips. Over 10% of these trips are made by drivers under the legal drinking age.
- 50 to 75 of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
- A drunk driver has driven drunk an average of 80 times before their first arrest.
- Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving accident.
- Nationally 21 to 25 year olds have the highest rates of drinking and driving (23.4%).
- One-third of drivers who are convicted or arrested for DUI are repeat offenders.
*SOURCE: Mothers against Drunk Driving, "Drunk Driving Statistics", http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html
Stay Alert During the RVA Holiday Season
DUI incidents occur throughout the year with varying frequency, but with holiday parties, the conclusion of football season, and New Year's Eve the number of DUI incidents in Richmond reaches its highest levels. This can make it a dangerous time of year for motorists. With roads already packed with travelers visiting friends and family for the holidays, the possibility of an accident increases exponentially if you choose to drive under the influence. Allen & Allen attorney Kathleen Smith provides some insight on the increased risks for DUI accidents during the Holiday season.
"The holidays are a time for getting together with family and friends. Since the cost and hassle of airline travel is going up, many people will be driving to their destinations for the holidays. In addition, shopping also puts more people on the roads during this time of year.
There are always an abundance of parties around the holidays, so if you are driving at night, be on high alert for possible drunk drivers. Be a defensive driver, and you'll get to your destination safely!"
Read More from Kathleen Smith
New Year's Eve in particular can be among the most dangerous times of the holiday season for DUI accidents. One sector of the population that is particularly prone to DUI accidents on New Years Eve is teenage drivers. Attorney Christopher Guedri elaborates on the dangers that young people face on New Year's Eve.
"Teenage drivers are particularly affected by the dangers of New Year’s Eve. One recent study found that 12% of young drivers reported driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve alone. New Year’s Eve is a traditional night for partying and letting loose before school resumes, and many young people make bad decisions they wouldn’t consider at other times of year."
Read more from Christopher Guedri
No statistic displays the preventable nature of DUI accidents more than the fact that 50% of all fatal accidents in 2014 in the metro Richmond area were due in some part an intoxicated driver. This is a fight we can win but we must commit as a community to making the choice not to drink and drive and to hold our frends and family to the same standard.
The classic definition of driving under the influence assumes the driver was drinking alcohol and driving. However, in Virginia a DUI charge can apply to those who are driving under the influence of drugs as well. While laws concerning marijuana may be shifting in other areas of the country, it is still illegal in Virginia and driving under the influence of marijuana, or any other drug, puts yourself and others on the road at risk. Allen & Allen attorney Courtney Allen Van Winkle elaborates on the danger of driving under the influence of marijuana.
"Marijuana can cause dizziness and slowed reaction time, and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they're high. A study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that "Acute cannabis consumption is associated with an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash, especially for fatal collisions." Thus young people are confronted with a drug whose effects they do not fully understand, that nevertheless both seriously impairs their driving and resists detection and enforcement efforts. If nothing is done to improve knowledge and understanding about the dangers of marijuana use and driving, there will be more automobile accidents involving personal injury or death."
Read more From Courtney Allen Van Winkle here
Drunk driving is preventable
Driving under the influence is a completely preventable crime and it is up to you as a driver to make the smart choice not to drink and drive. While Virginia law states a driver can get a DUI at a BAC of (.08), driving after drinking any amount of alcohol lowers your reaction time and affects other fine motors skills, making you a danger to yourself and other motorists. How do you know when you have had too much to drive? The safest measure for you as a driver is simply to not get behind the wheel after drinking. There are numerous other means of getting home that do not put yourself, your passengers, and other motorists at great risk of personal injury.
Planning ahead and having the discipline not to engage in drinking and driving can protect you from harming others or getting a DUI. Encouraging friends and loved ones around you to implement the same planning keeps the Richmond community safe on the road and helps keeps the chance of a preventable tragedy lower.
The Cost of Drunk Driving
The legal consequences and personal liabilities for drinking and driving in Richmond are significant. Those convicted in DUI cases face large fees for the crime and in many cases are forced to serve jail time. Virginia’s DUI laws were amended in 2013 to reflect the states harsher stance on those who are convicted of the crime. Allen & Allen attorney Paul Hux explains how the Ignition Interlocking Device works and the massive financial toll DUI charges can enact on a person's finances:
"The purpose of the Ignition Interlock Device is to make intoxicated driving impossible for the offender and thus stop repeated instances of drunk driving by those drivers who have been previously convicted. More than 15 studies have shown that IIDs are associated with a substantial reduction in repeat offenses, with the reductions ranging from 50% to 90%.
While there is no installation charge for the device, the monthly monitoring charge runs from $60.00 to $80.00 of which $20.00 each month is routed to the state and regional VASAP programs. Criminal defense attorneys estimate that a person's first DUI arrest will now cost $10,000 or more."
Read more from Paul Hux here
First responders and court officials see first hand the dangers and severe consequences of driving under the influence. Allen & Allen attorney Christopher Toepp has a unique perspective on DUI incidents, having worked as a prosecutor before joining the Allen Law Firm. Mr. Toepp has written about how our court system works to punish those who put others at risk:
"Virginia has some of the most stringent driving under the influence (DUI) laws in the nation. Drunk drivers can be, and often are, sentenced to exceedingly long periods of incarceration. Elected prosecutors have significant political motivations to prosecute DUI offenses to the full extent of the law and thus are exceedingly hesitant to offer plea bargains to DUI offenders. In addition, the legislature annually reviews the performance of judges, and the vigilant enforcement of drunk driving laws is frequently part of this review."
Read More from Christopher Toepp here
Changing the numbers
The month of December is “National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month” and the Virginia law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen is doing our part to combat drinking and driving in Richmond, Virginia this holiday season. Our “Get Me Home Safe” campaign reflects our commitment to community and aims to spread awareness about drinking and impaired driving. We hope to prevent the disastrous implications that arise from DUI incidents.
Our campaign also falls during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national crackdown. This program is a combined effort by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and the Governors Highway Safety Association to increase awareness about the dangers of drunk driving as well as ramp up efforts to incarcerate drunk drivers.
The Allen Law Firm is proud to support these two national initiatives and further the message about the dangers of drinking and driving during this holiday season. Join Allen & Allen in committing to fight against the tragic consequences of drinking and driving and volunteer to be a designated driver this season. Share your pledge to serve as a designated driver on social media with the tag #GetMeHomeSafe and encourage your friends to do the same.
We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season!