Chicago holiday drunk driving risks

Citizens in the greater Chicago area should become educated about the risks posed to them by people who choose to drink and drive during the holidays.

Every year during the holiday season, many warnings are made public to alert residents in Chicago about the dangers related to drinking and driving. As the holiday season for this year is in full swing, the reality remains the same and all people should take extra precautions to stay safe when sharing the roads with drunk drivers.

Sad holiday tragedies

Per data published at CyberDriveIllinois.com, people can clearly see the true dangers associated with being involved in a drunk driving accident over the holiday season. The site data indicates that for 2011, 50 percent of all fatalities that resulted from a motor vehicle accident over the Thanksgiving holiday were attributed to alcohol. The only holiday in the entire calendar year with a greater death rate due to drunk drivers was the Fourth of July.

That same year, the New Year's holiday represented 33 percent of all automotive deaths due to drinking and driving. Over Christmas in 2011, 38 percent of deaths were caused by the actions of drivers who chose to drink and drive.

Government data backs up the risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency that oversees highway safety in the nation. It also tracks and reports important collision data including that pertaining to drunk driving.

Information compiled from 2001 to 2005 shows that for days in December other than Christmas and New Year's Eve, 28 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents were caused by drunk drivers. That number is 12 percent lower than the rate of deaths associated with the two major holidays spanning December dates. Over Christmas and New Year's, 40 percent of lives lost in vehicular accidents involved alcohol.

For Christmas of 2005, 46 people per day died on average due to drunk drivers nationwide. For New Year's that number rose to 55 deaths per day. Those statistics are both higher than the average death rate for the rest of the month of December at 34 deaths per day.

How serious is the problem in Illinois?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes that out of all deaths in car crashes in 2012, 34 percent were attributed to the actions of drunk drivers. This is a 15 percent jump over the previous year.

The NHTSA supports MADD data by reporting that 321 out of a total of 956 lives lost in auto collisions in 2012 resulted from impaired driving accidents. In Cook County, 270 people died in all forms of automobile accidents that year. Of those, 89 resulted from drunk driving collisions.

Taking action when needed

Securing proper medical care is always the first priority when an automobile accident occurs. Once this has been done, seeking legal counsel should be the next order of business.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury