Launch 2019 safe and healthy: Don’t drive while distracted or under the influence

drunkdriving-300x122Don’t be tempted over the next few days of new year’s revelry to drive while distracted or intoxicated — whether under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs.

It’s a myth that the start of the year is the deadliest time for motorists across the country. But Jan. 1, statistically and without great explanation, has been most lethal for pedestrians nationwide. Pedestrians also are in greater harm’s way than they should be here in Washington, D.C.

Drunk driving poses significant problems in the nation’s capital, where alcohol-related fatalities increased 33 percent in 2017. Officials in the District of Columbia need to crack down even more on an issue that puts motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike in peril.

The state of Utah, starting Jan. 1, will put in place a tough new 0.05 percent sobriety standard, while Wyoming, South Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico and Alabama all have big work to do to reduce their bad standing as the worst states for drunk-driving deaths.

For tipsy celebrants who want to play it safe for themselves and others, taxis and ride-sharing services offer not only a sensible but also a cost-effective option: Their transportation almost always will be cheaper and more convenient than jail time and the price of dealing with a DUI charge.

The Washington Post also reported that: “The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is providing free rides from 8 p.m. Dec. 31 to 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.” Metro service will run for an extra 2.5 hours — until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve — and will charge off-peak fares.

It would be great to resolve to not just hold the line but to reduce recent major increases in annual road deaths across the country. The nation made huge advances in improving vehicle and road safety only to see vehicular, pedestrian, and cyclist deaths soar due to drunk, drugged, sleepy, and otherwise impaired motorists. Texting while driving has become a menace. Drivers need to eliminate this and other distractions, including device use, loud music, and taking on activities other than focusing on the road.

In my practice, I see not only the harms that patients suffer while seeking medical services, but also the carnage that can be inflicted on them and their loved and their lives ones by car, truck, and motorcycle wrecks. The last place to be as the new year begins is incarcerated or hospitalized due to DUI driving or an intoxicated driver. Know your limits, play it safe, and consider that staying home and well can be a satisfying choice not for chumps but grown-ups.

With great thanks to all the medical staff, first-responders, and military personnel who will be on duty, a here’s hoping that 2019 is a safe, fun, prosperous, satisfying, and healthy new year for all!

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
Washingtonian Top Lawyer 2011
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