Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for persons under 24 years old in the United States, and nearly half of them are alcohol-related, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, nearly 300 people die each year in drunk-driving crashes across the country. The holidays are also a time for increased enforcement measures resulting in more DWI charges.
Who is most at risk?
Federal data shows young people between the ages of 21 and 24 account for one-third of drivers arrested for DWI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says a 160-pound person drinking two 12-ounce beers in an hour would likely have a BAC of 0.02% but is 1.4 times more likely to have an accident than someone sober, and 11 times more likely with a BAC of 0.08%.
Reducing the risk
Law enforcement ramps up its effort to identify impaired drivers during the holidays. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reported 94 DWI arrests over the Thanksgiving weekend, an increase of eight from 2018. If you plan to drink, consider these options before you or someone you care about gets behind the wheel:
- Find a designated driver
- Be accountable through friends and coworkers
- Be responsible if you are hosting a party
- Plan alcohol-free activities
Protect your future if charged with drunk driving
A DWI conviction can have devastating permanent or long-lasting personal and financial consequences. But just because you are charged doesn’t mean you are guilty. Statistics show one out of every 10 misdemeanor DWI charges in Missouri result in a dismissal, acquittal or reduced charges. An aggressive DWI defense attorney will fight for you and question whether officers had probable cause to stop you in the first place and challenge sobriety tests, which are often unreliable.