Labor Day is almost here and Long Island police are getting prepared. Suffolk County officers have already set up checkpoints and extra patrols to look for distracted drivers and drivers under the influence as a part of their aggressive plan to reduce Labor Day road fatalities and injuries. Seven people have already been arrested at these checkpoints last weekend for DWI’s between Friday night and early Saturday morning, with more to come as the holiday approaches.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Long Island police along with national safety organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are fed up with reckless drunk driving accidents around Labor Day. The NHTSA reports an average of 10,000 fatalities are caused by drunk driving accidents each year, an average of one person killed every 51 minutes! The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates nearly 450 of these deaths occur over Labor Day weekend alone, along with at least 48,000 non-fatal injuries that can quickly ruin the return of any vacation.
In light of these horrifying statistics, New York State has adopted NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to crackdown on drunk driving accidents statewide. The campaign aims to help reduce unnecessary traffic accidents from drunk and impaired driving by adding more checkpoints, troopers on the roads, and establishing a zero tolerance policy for any driver caught impaired behind the wheel.
Labor Day Increases Drunk Driving
With summer coming to a close and end of season parties scheduled, local authorities around the country are already geared up for an increase in drunk drivers on the road. According to SoberingUp, at least 40% of driving accidents on Labor Day involve a driver who is impaired. Drunk driving increases over the summer holidays for multiple reasons, including:
- Increase in parties
- Decreased supervision
- Lack of school responsibilities
- First-time drinkers
- Increase in vacation time taken
- Three day weekends for summer holidays
Labor Day weekend can be particularly dangerous because it is the last ‘hoorah’ for a lot of students and parents before the next school year begins. But in attempts to make the best out of the last days of summer, hundreds of people are dying over Labor Day weekend every year, making it one of the six most dangerous holidays, according to the American Safety Council.
Drunk Driving Violations in NYS
New York State and Long Island police departments are on the lookout and ready to place hefty fines on drivers caught driving impaired this Labor Day. There are several types of alcohol and drug-related violations drivers can face depending on the level of substances consumed, including:
- DWI (Driving While Intoxicated): Blood alcohol content is .08 or higher for passenger vehicles or .04 for commercial vehicles, or other evidence of intoxication presented.
- Aggravated DWI (Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated): Blood alcohol content is .18 or higher.
- DWAI/Alcohol (Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol): Blood alcohol content is more than .05 and less than .07, or other evidence of impairment.
- DWAI/Drug (Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol)
- DWAI/Combination (Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs and Alcohol)
- Chemical Test Refusal: When a driver refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test to test intoxication.
- Zero Tolerance Law: A law affecting a driver who is less than 21 years of age and drives with a .02 to .07 blood alcohol content.
Getting caught for any of these violations could cost NYS drivers hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines, possible jail time, and a revoked license depending on the offense.
One Of The Most Dangerous Driving Days
Labor Day is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road and drunk driving is not the only reason why:
- Increased Traffic: An average of 35 million motorists are predicted to be on the roads this Labor Day weekend according to past reports of traffic activity released by AAA. More cars on the road is always a precursor to an increase in traffic accidents, raising the chances of congestion, traffic jams, aggressive drivers, and reckless behaviors.
- Driving at Night: A number of drivers use the last day of the holiday weekend to drive home from their trips, but leave as late as possible to not miss out on any end of summer fun. Night drivers suffer from fatigue that can cause dangerous accidents and lack of judgment. NHTSA reports traffic accidents are three times more likely to happen between the times of 6:00 pm and 6:00 am when most holiday drivers are on the road at the end of their trips.
- Teen Drivers: The ‘100 deadliest days’ is a period of increased traffic accidents between Memorial Day to Labor Day where 1,000’s of people are killed due to an increase in inexperienced teen drivers on the road. Teen drivers are more likely to cause an accident due to speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving impaired, and general immaturely when driving- they are all over the roads by the end of the summer.
- Distracted Drivers: Whether you are daydreaming about the long weekend, or trying to keep a van full of kids quiet at the end of a road trip, holidays bring out more distractions than usual when it comes to driving. In addition to daily cellphone distractions, which cause most distracted driving accidents, holiday drivers have to worry about keeping their minds on the road amid increased activity and distractions both inside and outside of the car.
Staying Safe This Labor Day
The key to getting through this Labor Day safely is to make sure you are following as many safety precautions on the road as possible. You may not be able to control the habits of other drivers, but you can at least prepare your vehicle in the case of an emergency and watch your own behaviors to help prevent causing an accident.
To help you prepare for Labor Day road conditions, USA Today suggests the following safety precautions for preventing road accidents:
- Take Care of Your Car: Breaking down on the side of the road on a busy and dangerous holiday weekend is the last thing you want. Drivers on summer holidays are much more likely to pull aggressive maneuvers and may not expect to see your car on the side of the road until it’s too late. Make sure your car is in working condition with plenty of gas before your trip, and fill up often!
- Pack an Emergency Kit: Make sure you keep an emergency kit in your car in the case of an accident. Emergency kits should be a mix of medical and maintenance supplies: jumper cables, flashlight, tool kit, first aid kit, water, and extra snacks are all great additions.
- Don’t Drink and Drive: This tip seems obvious, yet hundreds of drivers continue to drink and drive every year over Labor Day. If you have had a drink, you should not be driving, especially in high-risk holiday traffic. Stay someplace safe and drive in the morning, or use a ride-hailing company/public transportation option to get home safely- don’t take the risk.
- Don’t Drive Tired: Driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Fatigue can slow your reaction times, impair your judgment, and cause you to easily lose control of your vehicle. If you find yourself too tired to drive, find a designated driver or spend the night.
- Reduce Distractions: It’s easy to get into an accident when you are distracted on congested roads. Stop-and-go breaking is extremely common and if you are looking at your phone or at something else out the window, you could cause a deadly accident in a second. Reduce the noise and electronic distractions inside your vehicle to stay more alert to hazards on the road.
- Watch Big Trucks: Don’t assume drivers of big trucks are always paying attention or sober. Any driver is capable of driving drunk, distracted, or fatigued. The problem with tractor-trailers is their massive size can cause far more severe accidents in a collision. Don’t pull risky maneuvers around large trucks, especially when driving at night.
- Avoid Congestion: The best way to avoid congestion and the higher possibility of encountering impaired/distracted/tired drivers is to leave early in the day. Driving at night on a holiday weekend is the most dangerous time on the road. Waiting to leave at the last moment to avoid missing out on any holiday fun could cost you far more than you bargained for. If you do plan to leave late, try to find an alternate driving route to avoid busy and dangerous roads.
Have a Safe Labor Day LI!
The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year is definitely something to celebrate, but not at the cost of anyone’s life or safety. If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident due to the negligence of a drunk driver, our personal injury experts are here to help. Our Attorneys at Siler & Ingber is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured motorists, particularly in the cases of unnecessary and reckless drunk driving accidents. Call our winning attorneys today at 1-877-529-4343 to schedule a free consultation and explore your options for justice.