Drunk drivers and the holidays can be a lethal combination. The holiday season is a time for celebration, for family and friends, and unfortunately, for drunk driving.

Anyone driving on the Idaho roads and highways over the holidays needs to be extra cautious, as this is the most dangerous time of year for alcohol-related car accidents. Read on to find out what you need to know to keep your family safe on the road this holiday season.

Holiday Drinking and Driving

The risk for car accidents is always greater around the holidays. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are the most popular time of the year for long-distance travel — and parties and celebrations.

According to studies by the United States Department of Transportation, an estimated 1,200 Americans will lose their lives due to drunk drivers this holiday season.* What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that an additional 25,000 people will be injured as a result of alcohol-related traffic collisions.**

Many accidents occur on New Year’s Eve and Christmas; however, in comparison, Thanksgiving has the largest percentage of drunk driving fatalities.

Staying Safe on the Road

Aside from staying sober while driving, you can take additional steps to keep your family safe on the road.

Try to avoid driving during the early morning and late evening hours during the holidays, as there are more drunk drivers on the road at these times. Watch other motorists for signs of intoxication, such as weaving, tailgating, extra slow speeds and sudden acceleration or deceleration.

If you suspect someone on the road is driving drunk and you have a phone available, pull over or have a passenger contact the local highway patrol or police department. Provide the dispatcher with your location and the license number of the vehicle in question. Although many people hesitate to report another motorist based only on suspicion, your call may save someone’s life.

Idaho Drunk Driving Laws

In Idaho, drunk drivers who cause another person to suffer great injury, disfigurement or disability can face jail time of up to 15 years and a fine of $5,000 or more. Drunk drivers may also be required to pay restitution to the victim for medical bills, lost wages and property damage.

Under Idaho state law, victims also may file a lawsuit against the drinking establishment or person who provided the alcohol, if the driver was obviously intoxicated at the time the alcohol was sold or furnished.

Victims injured in a collision with a drunk commercial truck driver may also file a claim for damages against the trucking company.

While money can’t make up for serious injuries or death resulting from an alcohol-related collision, it can help ease the financial burdens and suffering caused by the accident. If you or a loved one becomes the victim of a drunk driver accident this holiday season, contact the experienced professionals at Montgomery Dowdle in Boise, Idaho, for a free consultation. Buckle up out there. We don’t want to see your holiday season spoiled by a drunk driver.