There are over 30,000 traffic fatalities annually, and more than 30 percent of these accidents involved alcohol and impaired drivers (i). Alcohol-related automobile accidents have declined over the last decade; however, they remain a huge issue in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Almost one-third of our total population will be involved in an alcohol-related collision at some point in their life (i). Safe driving should be a priority for all motor vehicle operators from new teen motorists to veteran drivers.
Underage Drinking and Driving Among Top Cause of Teen Deaths
Traffic accidents are the top cause of death for the teenage population, and around 25% of these accidents involve underage drinking. With the prevalence of underage drinking, and youth being exposed to alcohol at earlier ages, the chances of being involved in an alcohol-related accident increase. The holidays and new year are often celebrated, at least in part, with alcohol consumption, and this can pose serious risk to those travelling the roadways during such a busy time of the year.
Driving under the influence is a dangerously common traffic offense for those who drive while impaired. Some of these motorists may be repeat offenders who have had their license suspended but continue to drive illegally, while others may be taking their chances for driving drunk for the very first time. Regardless, drinking and driving is dangerous and presents a significant public health concern.
There are a Number of Ways to Address this Problem, Especially Among Members of Your Own Family and Friends.
- First and foremost, always plan in advance how you will get home. This means having a designated sober driver, or using public transportation for travel. This helps keep you, any passengers, and other motorists safe.
- If you see someone who is intoxicated about to leave a party, bar, restaurant or elsewhere to drive home, you should actively intervene; doing so could potentially save a life, whether the life be that of the potential DUI motorist, or any innocent victims that could be crashed into.
- Use a calm approach when dissuading drunk persons from driving, suggesting that they have had too much to drink and should seek alternative transportation (i.e. ride with a sober driver, or take a cab). Avoid being confrontational or embarrassing; instead, attempt to make it sound like you are doing the person a favor. If the individual insists, do not get into the car with them under any circumstances.
Beyond drinking, avoid distractions altogether while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its “distraction-affected crashes” data recently, and the data are not good. Fatalities from distraction-affected crashes have actually increased in the past few years (ii). The NHTSA records a broad range of potential distractions for drivers, but considers the dangers of cell phones most concerning.
Dialing or texting while driving are both dangerous activities that can, and should, wait until drivers are no longer travelling the roadways. Holding off on your phone conversations could be the best decision you make in terms of sparing injury to yourself and others in a potential automobile accident. Distracted driving is not simply a teenage problem, it spans all drivers. Cell phone use should not be engaged in while driving, instead, leave phone communication to passengers travelling with you or wait until after the commute.
Hazardous weather conditions can also throw a dangerous wrench into winter and cold-weather commutes. With snow and icy conditions, roadways have the potential to grow extremely treacherous. Under these conditions, build some extra time into your commute, and never be in a hurry. Slow and steady wins the race in this scenario, and could also avoid injury or save lives. If roadways become unnavigable, pull over safely to a roadside rest or stop until driving conditions become safe again. If stopping to rest, never pull off and park in the shoulder as sitting on the roadside can be dangerous and may actually increase your chances of involvement in an auto accident.
In Fall River especially, an area considered to be a transportation hub for both South Coast Massachusetts and the Mount Hope Bay areas, drivers should always remain vigilant. Drivers should always use caution when travelling through the area, especially on busy routes including: I-195, Route 6, Route 24, Route 79, Route 138, Route 81, and Route 177. Fall River and surrounding locations have seen many accidents on the roadways through the years, and prudent driving could contribute to accident avoidance.
For additional information about highway and traffic safety, visit the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov/, the U.S. Department of Transportation website at www.dot.gov/, or Distraction.gov, another helpful resource for learning more about distracted driving, in particular.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in which another driver was at fault, contact the traffic accident attorneys at our firm’s Fall River office. Our auto accident lawyers and office staff have experience handling these types of cases and can file a claim and/or lawsuit on your behalf to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Feel free to contact our office, and we will get started right way gathering information regarding your accident, your injuries and medical treatment, and we will deal with the insurance company. The d’Oliveira & Associates law firm charges no fees until you obtain a settlement or award, so call use at 1-800-992-6878, or submit an online contact form.d’Oliveira & Associates
Fall River, MA 02720
Phone: (508) 677-0500