As we begin to reach the height of summer, it seems every weekend is consumed by barbeques, vacations, beach days, holidays, and other activities. Many people choose to relax at these weekend festivities with alcohol and some even choose to operate a vehicle while under the influence. July 4th has become one of America’s deadliest holidays as a result of the increased number of DWI accidents and overall, the abundance of summertime activities tend to heighten the risk of these tragic incidents.
In New York, a person is considered to be driving while intoxicated if he or she operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) equivalent to or exceeding .08. However, a person may also be considered to be a drunk driver even if his or her BAC does not exceed .08, if he or she exhibits other indications of intoxication such as slurred speech, the inability to walk straight, reckless driving, and failing standard police tests for intoxication.
Driving under the influence can result in severe consequences such as fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and even jail time. It is important that you take extra care as a driver, passenger, and party host to avoid being involved in a drunk driving accident or failing to prevent a guest from driving while intoxicated. Several ways to avoid drunk driving this holiday include:
Make a transportation plan to get home safely if you plan to drink.
- Designate a driver who will remain sober and agrees to drive you home
- Use a ride-share company such as Uber or Lyft, or another local cab service
- Plan to stay over the house at which you attend a celebration
- Cease alcohol consumption hours before driving home—it takes approximately 1 hour for a person’s body to absorb 1 drink
Exercise safe driving practices for you and your passengers if you are on the road on July 4.
- Buckle your seatbelt
- Remain attentive and aware of the way others are driving
- Report those who may be driving erratically and may appear to be driving drunk
In anticipation of the holiday, the NHTSA has developed a mobile app, available on both iPhone and Android to help you get home safe. The app, SaferRide, simplifies the process of using one’s phone to find a safe way home by presenting a user with three alternatives to getting behind the wheel. Upon opening the app, one has the option to click one of three buttons:
- GET TAXI. Clicking this button will lead to a screen that lists several nearby taxi companies with a button that when clicked, will directly call the cab company’s phone number and another button that displays reviews of the company.
- CALL FRIEND. This feature is best set up ahead of time. When one clicks the button for the first time, he or she is directed to his or her list of contacts from which the user can choose who to be their trusted driver. Once this person is designated, it only takes one click from the “call friend” button on the home page of the app to call this friend.
- WHERE AM I? When a user clicks this button, his or her current location will appear on a map.
Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime that may have serious consequences. If you are one of these drivers and have been charged with an alcohol or drug-related offense, it is important to contact an experienced attorney. The Long Island criminal defense lawyers at McGuire, Peleáz & Bennett, PC may be able to assist you and defend your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation call (631) 348-1702.