Independence Day is a day to celebrate the birth of our great nation with family and friends enjoying cookouts, pool parties and fireworks. Drinking alcohol is sometimes a part of those celebrations. Using good judgment over the long holiday weekend is important so that the celebration does not turn into a tragedy.
“When beginning to think about plans for celebrating on the July 4th weekend, Spivey Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. advises everyone to consider drunk driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to make sure their celebrations are safe and provide happy memories,” said Fort Myers Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall Spivey.
In the last 25 years, 51 percent of the accidents that occur on the Fourth of July weekend involved alcohol.
43 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July weekend are alcohol-related, ranking even higher than the New Year’s holiday.
In fact, IIHS reports that the Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes.
Police will be increasing efforts to prevent DUIs.
Bear in mind that extra state and local police will be working over the weekend, with efforts including but not limited to an increase in random checkpoints for drivers under the influence. These checkpoints are legal, and drivers may be stopped without any reasonable suspicion. Those drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test could be forced to endure a blood test instead. Keep in mind, even driving with a BAC below 0.08 percent can result in a DUI.
Florida DUI Penalties (Florida Statute 316.193)
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida are strong, even if a driver has an otherwise clean driving record. Refusing a breathalyzer test can get a driver a suspended license for one year.
First DUI conviction: Maximum six months in jail, $500- $1,000 in fines, 180-day to 1-year driver's license suspension, 50 hours of community service.
Second DUI conviction (within 5 years): Mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 days and up to nine months. Mandatory ignition interlock device installation for at least one year, $1,000- $2,000 in fines. Minimum 5-year driver's license suspension.
Third DUI conviction (within 10 years): Felony conviction. Minimum 30 days in jail, $2,000-$5,000 in fines. Minimum 10-year driver's license suspension.
Fourth DUI conviction: Felony conviction. Maximum 5 years in jail. Permanent revocation of driver's license. Minimum $2,000 in fines.
Breathalyzer Test Refusal Penalties: First refusal: 1-year suspension of driver's license. Any additional refusal after the first: 18-month suspension of driver's license. Each additional refusal is a misdemeanor offense.
Don’t let drunk driving ruin your celebrations this Fourth of July.
The AutoClub of Southwest Florida (AAA) says that if you are planning to include alcohol as part of your celebrations, select a designated driver before the festivities start. If this is not possible, take public transportation, or get a ride from a cab or ride-sharing service. AAA also offers its “Tow to Go” service from 6 p.m. on July 3 to 11:59 p.m. on July 4. This service provides for car towing to a driver’s home for free, up to seven miles. The phone number is: 1-855-286-9246. Just tell the operator, “I need a Tipsy Tow" and AAA will provide a free tow and ride home for the driver (excluding passengers).
NBC2 also offers the following reminders to stay safe:
Choose a designated driver. If you are going to party where you know there will be alcohol, plan ahead and select a designated driver or alternative form of transportation. Before you get to the party, know exactly how you will get home. If you are hosting a celebration, be sure to provide plenty of nonalcoholic drink options for the designated drivers.
Avoid late night driving. Nobody likes to leave a party early, but if it means getting home safe, it’s probably worth it.
Drive in the right lane. Sticking to the right lane can save your life from drunk drivers, and wrong-way drivers alike. Often times drunk drivers drift out of their lane or into oncoming traffic. The further you are to the right of the road, the better your chances of avoiding being side-swiped or hit head-on by a drunk driver.
“Planning ahead and making smart choices are essential when it comes to your safety and others on the roads. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident as the result of a DUI driver, please contact the experienced attorneys at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,” said Attorney Randall Spivey.
Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.