According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32 percent of all traffic fatalities were alcohol related in 2009. These accidents tend to spike around the holiday season. While the holidays can be a time to get together with family and friends, it can also be one of the most dangerous times to be on the road.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notes that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are three of the four deadliest holidays in the state. In 2009, there were nearly 100 fatal accidents during those holiday periods, with almost half involving a drunk driver. Last year, Florida averaged over 200 fatal traffic accidents each in the months of January, November and December.
Though Florida experienced a 14 percent decline overall in alcohol-related fatalities from 2008 to 2009, over 1,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in the state last year.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has launched an impaired driving prevention campaign for the 2010 holiday season. From November 29 to January 3, NHTSA is encouraging local law enforcement officials to step up patrols and checkpoints to get drunk drivers off the road.
Distracted Driving Causing Fatalities — Florida Has Not Banned Texting
While the dangers of drunk driving are clear, distracted driving also poses a significant risk to drivers and pedestrians alike. NHTSA notes that over 5,400 people died in accidents involving distracted driving during 2009. Though this number represents a decline from 2008, when over 5,800 people died in distracted driving accidents, officials warn that the number can be misleading and understates the severity of the problem as many distracted driving accidents are not classified properly.
In an effort to reduce the number of distracted driving deaths, many states have enacted laws that ban distracting activities for divers. Over 30 states have laws that ban texting while behind the wheel, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Eight states have addressed the use of cell phones for drivers. Florida, however, is one of a handful of states that has not yet addressed cell phone use in cars.
If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk or distracted driver in Florida, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.