While many people believe New Year’s Eve is the most dangerous night of the year for drivers, Thanksgiving eve is actually the busiest bar night, and one of the deadliest times to be on the road. College students and others who have moved away typically come home for the holiday, and the night before Thanksgiving is the ideal night for a reunion. While catching up with friends over a few drinks can be a great kickoff to the long weekend, driving home under the influence can be deadly, for the drivers and everyone else on the road.
Here is what drivers should know before heading out on the road. And, if the worst happens, an experienced car accident lawyer can help protect your rights and win the compensation you deserve.
Recent data shows 36 percent of fatal accidents during the Thanksgiving weekend involved at least one drunk driver, according to the National Safety Council. What’s more, Michigan traffic deaths, including pedestrians, reached a record 16-year high last year, with a 10 percent increase in alcohol-related fatalities.
Traffic safety analysts attribute these alarming statistics to a continuing rise in distracted driving, excessive speeding and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Recommended reading: 2021 Michigan Car Accident Deaths Hit Record High
Not only can drunk driving cost your life, it can damage your driving record as well as your finances. An arrest usually means hefty fines, legal fees and other expenses. And, a drunk driving conviction typically results in significantly higher auto insurance premiums for years to come.
According to Michigan law, it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more for those over 21, or .02 for individuals under 21. Additionally, drivers with any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance and/or cocaine are subject to the same fines and penalties as drunk drivers, even if they show no signs of impairment.
For individuals who have a valid medical marijuana card, a law enforcement officer must show the driver is impaired due to the marijuana.
Although sentences are ultimately determined by a judge, Michigan has the following penalty guidelines for individuals convicted of drunk driving:
First offense with BAC below .17:
First offense with BAC of .17 or higher:
Refusal to take a breathalyzer test after being stopped by police:
Sentencing may also include a restricted driver’s license and the use of an ignition interlock device for a period of time determined by the court.
Recommended reading: Is It Worthwhile To Hire a Detroit Car Accident Attorney?
Celebrating with family and friends is an important part of the holiday season, and most festivities include alcohol. However, the good news is that many drunk driving accidents can be prevented by taking simple and potentially life-saving safety measures.
“We wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend, but even the most careful motorist can be hit by a drunk driver,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “These accidents are especially heartbreaking because they are preventable.”
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable and compassionate lawyers have the skills, experience and resources necessary to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right car accident lawyer is simple.
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