What a great time of year. The season is filled with holiday parties, friends and family to see, music to listen to and presents to give and receive. This is all good, unless you have too much eggnog before getting behind the wheel. That can put a serious damper on the fun.
In this post we examine three risks. First, being the driver that had too much eggnog. Second, riding with the driver that had too much eggnog. Third, being in another car on the road when drunk drivers are out. To be clear, because this is the holiday season, we use the term “eggnog” to mean any form of alcohol.
Don’t Take the Gift of a DWI Home From Your Holiday Parties
Statistically speaking, the “season of holiday parties” could also be called the “DWI season.” According to the Law Dictionary, New Years Eve has the most arrests for suspected driving under the influence of any day of the year. However, the entire period from the day before Thanksgiving through the 1st of January is fraught with drunken drivers.
Sometimes people want to let loose and have a good time. Maybe they even feel they need to let loose. The holidays are as good a time as any for doing this. However, if that’s you, do it responsibly. Either have a friend that will be disciplined about not drinking be your driver for the night. Alternatively, you can use a service like Sober Ride to get you home safely. Taxis and other similar services are also a possibility.
Don’t Let Friends or Family Force You to Ride With a Dangerous Driver
It’s bad enough that nearly one-third of all auto related fatalities are alcohol related. Even worse is the fact that in 2015 of all the driving fatalities that included children ages 0 to 14, 16% involved an alcohol-impaired driver. We weren’t able to find statistics on the rest of the family, but it’s not necessary. Even the thought of the death of a child due to a drunken parent or guardian is terrible.
Minimizing the chance of suffering the problem of a drunken driver is actually easy. Start by by having a clear plan on how everyone will get home once the party ends. Your plan should include ride alternatives such as those suggested above or friends or relatives.
Defending Yourself Against Those Leaving Holiday Parties
On average, a fatality occurs every 50 minutes due to a drunk driver. During the season of holiday parties the frequency increases. Unfortunately, these deaths aren’t limited to the drunk driver. Unfortunately, drunk drivers often kill others. That’s why you need to take care to protect yourself against the drunks on the road. Here’s how.
Not surprisingly, most of the accidents occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. While these hours represent only 38% of the day, this nine-hour period is when 59% of the fatal accidents involving alcohol occur.
One approach to increasing your odds of surviving the drunks leaving holiday parties is to travel during the daytime. This doesn’t reduce the risk to zero, but it substantially improves your odds.
Another defensive approach is to not drive a small vehicle. When there’s an impact, passengers in small vehicles will sustain more injuries. This is a simple matter of physics. A larger vehicle is able to absorb more of the impact form another vehicle.
The Holiday Parties Season Compared to The Rest of The Year
The National Highway Traffic Safety Institute did a five-year study from 2001 to 2005. The study compared the number of deaths due to impaired driving throughout the year vs. the holidays. During the Christmas holiday, impaired driving resulted in a 25% increase in deaths. Even worse, during the New Years holiday, impaired driving resulted in a 50% increase compared the rest of the year.
The Cost of a DUI
According to the website onedui.com, the first driving under the influence charge typically costs around $10,000. This includes legal fees, fines, increased insurance costs, etc. $10K is a heavy incentive to stay of the DUI list this Christmas.
Reducing Fatalities from Drunken Drivers is Slowing
In the 1970’s approximately 60% of automobile fatalities were a result of alcohol impaired driving. That statistic has been significantly reduced to approximately 30% in recent years. Significant progress was made in the early years of educating people on the consequences of driving while intoxicated. However, in recent years continued progress has proven difficult to achieve. In fact, some activities such as recreational boating have seen increases in the number of alcohol related deaths.
To further reduce fatalities from drunken driving will require more punitive measures. Driving to a zero tolerance level for driving impaired may be necessary. Also, lawmakers must quickly recognize the impact of marijuana on impaired driving and apply similar measures to protect people.
Measuring Insurance Quality
Many celebrating the holidays will heed the advice above. That’s good. What most people don’t know is that the quality of he insurance they buy is based on the company they buy from. Unfortunately, the quality of the insurance is not described in the policy. Instead, product quality is based on the culture of the insurance company. Some companies offer excellent protection. Some don’t.
Consumers have had no visibility into this as an issue. In fact, most consumers have no idea where to go to get information on the quality of the insurance they buy.
At ValChoice we believe this is a serious issue. Insurance is the last line of defense for most families. If an insurance company refuses to pay a legitimate claim, many families will be forced to file bankruptcy. My personal experience with insurance companies that refused to pay my claim changed my life. I gave up my career and founded a company determined to prevent this problem from impacting other families.
Taking Protection a Step Further
Take the steps necessary to protect you and your passengers now. Order a free report from ValChoice. If your insurance company scores well, tell a friend. If they score poorly, switch companies. Once enough consumers begin switching to the best insurance companies, the poor performers will change the way they do business. Start by simply ordering a free report on your auto and home insurance companies.
Note: ValChoice does not receive any form of compensation from insurance companies for rating them. Importantly, insurance companies have no input on how we grade them. The data we use comes from state insurance commissioners, not the insurance company. This methodology delivers the most reliable grading system available for consumers.
 The Law Dictionary. https://thelawdictionary.org/article/what-holiday-statistically-has-the-most-recorded-duis-per-year/
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). /https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/impaired-driving/fatalityfacts/impaired-driving#When-alcohol-impaired-crashes-occur
 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/impaired-driving/fatalityfacts/impaired-driving/2015
The infographic for this post was provided by SCRAM Systems. https://www.scramsystems.com/holiday-drinking-and-duis-resources-from-scram/