Getting out and rooting for your favorite football team on a fall afternoon is what September and October are all about. Yet when you add alcohol to a situation where the tensions and excitement run high, the repercussions could be deadly. Unfortunately, this time of year sees a significant increase in drunk driving accidents.
New York saw approximately 3,200 deaths caused by alcohol-impaired drivers between 2009 and 2018. While the state has a lower percentage of adults who report driving drunk than the national average, there are still about 1.6 people who die per 100,000 due to the actions of a drunk driver.
If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, contact a lawyer to learn your rights and see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
What Causes the Seasonal Increase?
In a study conducted by Tavis Glassman et al. in 2007, the results showed 762 football fans randomly selected for the study drank more on game days than at other social functions. The study indicated that tailgating was the biggest reason for the increase in alcohol consumption.
When tailgating, fans binge drink. A quarter of all tailgaters surveyed admitted to consuming five or more drinks before kick-off. That percentage increases for fans 35 and under. This group is more likely to become drunk at tailgating events and continue drinking during the game.
While starting earlier than kick-off is a culprit in the spike of drunk driving incidents, it is not the only reason. Food and drink stands aren’t judgment-free. Studies show that approximately 74% of sports arena vendors will still sell alcohol to visibly inebriated patrons.
Driving Drunk Legal Consequences
Like everywhere else in the country, New York has a legal drinking age of 21, and a driver is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol level (BAC) is at or over 0.08%.
However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person with a BAC of as little as 0.02% can have difficulty tracking moving objects. When you hit a BAC of 0.05%, you can suffer from reduced coordination and difficulty steering. These levels can cause you to drive erratically. If so, the officer who stops you may consider you a danger to yourself or others. As a result, they might charge you with a DUI, even though your BAC is below 0.08%.
If a driver is under the age of 21, a BAC over 0.08% isn’t necessary to be charged with drunk driving. People driving after drinking while underage will be charged with a DUI regardless of the measured alcohol level.
Ways to Stay Safe When Driving Home from the Game
When you’re driving home from the stadium or a friend’s house after a big game, your safest option is to drive in the far right lane. Drunk driving accidents happen most often when drivers swerve out of their lane and into oncoming traffic. By staying in the furthest right lane, you better your chances of avoiding an impaired driver by limiting what direction a drunk driver could approach from.
For the safety of yourself and those in your vehicle, decide on a designated driver before you go to a bar or stadium to enjoy watching a sporting event. While the driver remains sober, the rest of the group can enjoy drinking as much as they like, and everyone gets home safe. If you and the same group frequently go to football games, you can each take a turn as the group’s designated driver.
Try to avoid the busy routes home. Busy roads increase the chance of getting into an accident. Staying off these roads can help you get home safe and avoid drunk drivers.
To maximize safety, you can watch the game at home or a friend’s house. It might not be as fun as going to a bar or the stadium, but it eliminates an element of risk. Staying in to watch the game means friends can hang out until they are sober enough to get behind the wheel, or if you go to a friend’s place, you can sleep over and drink without worry.
You can also use public transportation or a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft. You may have to skip tailgating, but you can make sure that you protect yourself and others with public transit or ridesharing apps. Of course, you can still drink and enjoy the crowds.
Contact Us Today for Free Consultation
Were you injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver? Then you need the experienced Syracuse car accident lawyers at Catalano Law. We can evaluate your case and help you determine the best course forward. You may be owed more than you know. Contact Catalano Law for a complimentary consultation.