Ken Harrell, a South Carolina personal injury attorney, stresses the importance of making sure people don’t drive drunk or impaired during the holidays.

North Charleston, S.C. — As South Carolinians enjoy the Christmas season and parties to celebrate the new year, Charleston car accident attorney Ken Harrell urges drivers to remember to stay safe and refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“The holiday season is full of celebrations and parties, with many involving alcohol,” said Harrell, managing partner of Joye Law Firm, a personal injury firm in Charleston. “If drinking is a part of your festivities, it’s important to make sure that your guests and you do not get behind the wheel. It doesn’t take much to become impaired and become a danger.”

Nationally, 9,878 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents in 2011, representing nearly a third of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In South Carolina, 38 percent of all traffic deaths — 315 of 828 — occurred in alcohol-impaired crashes.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an average of 25 people were killed in drunk driving crashes nationwide per day during December 2010.

During this holiday season, several organizations are taking steps to raise awareness of and prevent impaired driving.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is continuing its “Be a SANTA (Sober All Night, Totally Awesome)” campaign to encourage people to select a designated driver if their holiday celebrations include alcohol. The ad campaign includes a TV commercial that can also be seen online, as well as stickers, billboards and placards for restaurant tables to remind people to choose a designated driver.

“Programs such as ‘Be a SANTA’ give people the important reminder to use a designated driver for a group if drinking alcohol is a part of their holiday celebrations,” Harrell said. “Our firm supports any efforts that keep intoxicated people from driving on South Carolina’s roads.”

In addition, President Barack Obama has declared December 2012 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The designation is meant to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The presidential proclamation contained reminders that drugs, including some prescription medications, can impair the skills crucial for safe driving and that distractions such as using mobile phones also make the roads more hazardous.

“The declaration of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month underscores that alcohol is not the only thing that does not mix with driving. Drugs and distractions are also serious problems, and it’s important to increase awareness of these hazards among drivers in South Carolina and across the country,” Harrell said. “Drunk and impaired driving is completely preventable. Our firm encourages drivers and passengers to follow guidelines from groups like MADD to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season. If you don’t have a designated driver, call a cab. I’m sure the cost of the cab will be a lot less than the estimated $10,000 of costs that a DUI arrest results in.”

MADD’s safety tips include designating a sober driver or arranging another safe way home, not letting someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel and calling 911 to report suspected drunk drivers.

Harrell also urged anyone who is injured by a drunk driver or other negligent motorist to seek legal counsel from a qualified Charleston car accident lawyer.

“The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have years of experience in handling these kinds of cases,” he said. “We can investigate your case fully and help you get the compensation you need and deserve for your car accident injuries.”

About Joye Law Firm

Since 1968, Joye Law Firm has been fighting to help people throughout South Carolina with their legal challenges in a broad range of practice areas, including personal injury, car accidents, birth injury, brain injury, defective products, drug injury, motorcycle accidents, nursing home abuse, Social Security disability, spinal cord injury, traffic tickets, truck accidents, workers’ compensation and wrongful death. The South Carolina law firm has offices in Charleston, Clinton and Myrtle Beach and assists clients in areas that include Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Summerville. The firm’s Charleston-area office is located at Northgate Office Building, 5861 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406 (local phone (888) 324-3100). To learn more, contact the firm by calling (888) 324-3100 or by filling out its online form.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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