Buzzed Driving is Scary, Especially on Halloween

October 26th, 2015 by Attorney Julie Butcher

Driving while impaired because of the use of alcohol or drugs puts the driver, passengers, other motorists and pedestrians at risk. Just one drink might be all it takes to affect your driving, resulting in an accident, injuries and arrest. Halloween is soon approaching, a holiday that many associate with partying and drinking. Since it’s on a Saturday night this year, more drunk and buzzed drivers will probably be on the roads than on the average weekend. Not only that . . . trick-or-treating in the Lexington area will also coincide with the festivities associated with the Breeder’s Cup at Keeneland and an evening football game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee! For first responders in Lexington, that’s likely to add up to a “perfect storm.”

We represent the victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers. These injuries can range from minor to fatal. The holidays, including Halloween, can be a time to enjoy ourselves with friends and family, but it’s never a good time to drive while buzzed. The presence of children on the roads going door to door in search of candy makes Halloween especially hazardous.

“Buzzed” drivers (those with a very low 0.01 blood-alcohol content (BAC) level, well below the 0.08 level that can result in an arrest for DUI) are a frequent cause of fatal car crashes, according to a study of traffic accidents by researchers at University of California San Diego.

The study is based on records of 570,731 fatal collisions occurring from 1994 to 2011. The findings are that driving with any detectable blood alcohol level is dangerous and linked to greater accident severity.

  • The “buzzed drivers” with a BAC of 0.01 are 46% more likely to be the sole cause of car crashes than the sober drivers they collide with.
  • The blame for causing accidents increases steadily from a BAC of 0.01 to 0.24.
  • Having just one drink, no matter the size, increases the risk of a traffic accident.

It’s not just chocolate, candy and pumpkins that sell well for Halloween. DailyFinance reports that the period around Halloween is second only to the Super Bowl for alcohol sales in the U.S. The alcohol industry focuses heavily on marketing in October and distributors and retailers try to make the most of the season.

Increased drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween night is a dangerous combination. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the following:

  • 54 people died in vehicle accidents on Halloween night in 2012 nationwide.
  • Nearly half of the fatalities (26) occurred in accidents involving drunk drivers. On the average day, a third of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.
  • 28% of Halloween crash fatalities were pedestrians, double the rate on an average day.
  • From 2008 to 2012, 21% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver.

This Halloween, enjoy the evening but stay sober or use a designated driver or taxi. If you have children trick or treating, make sure they have adult supervision, can see clearly through their costumes and are visible to traffic.

If you or a family member have been injured because of an impaired driver, whether it happened on Halloween or any other day of the year, contact our office so we can talk about the situation, applicable laws and your best options to obtain compensation.