As Maryland Thanksgiving Traffic Increases, So Do Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents

When it comes to tragic stories about injury and death on Maryland roads and highways, an experienced Hunt Valley, Md. personal injury lawyer has heard plenty. Our job is to help grieving clients through the legal process when a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic crash, and another party is held liable. The stories we hear are heartbreaking, especially when traffic accidents could have been prevented. Drunk driving crashes fall in this category. A moment of poor judgment can lead to a life of heartache and regret — on all sides.

While the holidays are a joyous time, each one brings the risk of celebrants drinking too much and getting behind the wheel. With Thanksgiving being the most heavily travelled time of year, the risk of being in a serious Maryland car accident — whether caused by someone driving under the influence of alcohol, distracted driving, speeding, or other risk factors — increases. In fact, the volume of cars and trucks on MD roadways is expected to increase this Thanksgiving week.

AAA predicts a 3.5 percent increase in overall 2011 Thanksgiving travel (including auto travel, air travel, and travel by rail), The Baltimore Sun reports.

For Maryland, AAA projects that 871,000 residents will travel 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday to get where they need to go for Thanksgiving. Of that number, a whopping 799,000 are expected to travel by automobile. That’s a whole lot of Marylanders traversing the state via highways, city streets, secondary roads, and rural Maryland back roads — many tired and in a rush. Throw alcohol in the mix and you can understand why the Thanksgiving holiday comes with additional road travel risks.

Car accident injury attorneys are naturally concerned about Maryland drunk driving (DUI) crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday week. Many people enjoy celebrating the holiday feast with some beer, wine, or cocktails. It’s football season, and for many Baltimore Ravens and Md. college football fans, beer and games go together like chips and dip. The problem arises when people consume alcohol and then think they’re fine to get in their cars and drive home or someplace else.

Maryland Drunk Driving Statistics
Roughly one in three traffic accident deaths in Maryland involves alcohol-impaired driving. While overall car crash fatalities in Maryland have statistically been on the decline — 547 deaths in 2009 compared to 591 deaths in 2008 — the percentage of deadly crashes involving drunken driving has risen — from 25 percent (145 deaths) in 2008 to 30 percent (162 deaths) in 2009. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2005 – 2009)

So be safe out there this Thanksgiving season. Maryland State Police will be out in force looking to stop motorists driving under the influence of alcohol, before they ruin their own — or some other innocent family’s — holiday.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney articles:

Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents in Baltimore, Maryland This Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 22, 2011)

Lessons Learned Abroad: Why Auto Accident Death Rates Are Lower in Europe Than in the U.S. (Sept. 15, 2011)

Source:

AAA projects 3.5 percent holiday travel rise
The Baltimore Sun Nov. 18, 2011
Related Web Resources:

The Baltimore Sun: Commuting and Traffic Resources

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety