Image of a woman in a santa hat in the driver's seat of a car

December marks National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a critical time for raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. With holiday celebrations increasing the risk of alcohol-related accidents, it’s vital to engage in open discussions with friends and family about safe driving practices.

As festivities begin, ensuring your loved ones stay safe behind the wheel is a shared responsibility. To help with the discussion, here are a few tips for starting these potentially life-saving conversations and approaching the subject with care and understanding.

Drinking and Driving: A Deadly Risk

Drinking and driving is a serious problem, especially during the holidays. Nationally, there were 209 drunk-driving involved fatalities over the New Year’s and Christmas holidays in 2020.

In South Carolina, 315 of the 1,064 driving fatalities in 2020 were alcohol-related. Furthermore, a study that analyzed NHTSA data found that South Carolina ranked 2nd in the nation for the most fatal holiday car crashes in 2021.

Each number in these reports is someone who didn’t make it home. Having honest conversations with your loved ones about not driving after drinking can save lives.

Talking to Your Loved One About Drinking and Driving During the Holidays

Talking to your loved ones about drinking and driving is crucial, especially during the holiday season. Here are some strategies to help you take the right tone and communicate effectively without being accused of lecturing or “nagging:”

  • Plan the conversation. Choose a time when both parties are relaxed and not hurried. This could be over dinner or downtime following a family event.
  • Be direct but compassionate. Use straightforward language to express concern for their safety and the importance of having a transportation plan after drinking. For instance, you might initiate a conversation like this: “Hey, I’ve been thinking about how much fun we have planned during the holidays, and want to make sure we all get home safely after the party. Have you thought about how you’ll get back if you decide to drink?”
  • Discuss the statistics. Provide concrete examples of DUI risks in South Carolina. You might say, “Did you know that our state has one of the highest rates of DUI incidents during the holidays?” This could spark their interest and highlight the severity of the issue.
  • Invite their perspective. Ask for their views with questions like, “What do you think about the risks of drinking and driving?” This can open a dialogue and show that you value their opinion.
  • Suggest specific options. Offer alternatives to driving after a night of drinking. Be proactive; for example, “If you’re planning to drink, maybe we could set up a ride with Uber, or I could be your designated driver.” You could also ask if staying with the host is possible instead of getting behind the wheel.
  • Express your concerns. Share your feelings with statements like, “I get worried about the chance of an accident when people drive after drinking. My friend’s sister had a scary experience that could have been avoided.” This helps show you care without talking down to them or making them feel guilty.
  • Clarify the law. Explain the legal consequences by saying: “I read about someone who had to deal with tough penalties for a DUI, including huge fines and legal issues.” This helps them think about other consequences that could impact their life if they drink and drive.
  • Propose a mutual agreement. Explain the benefits of having a safety plan when drinking, such as peace of mind and avoiding potential harm. Then, offer an example by suggesting, “How about we agree to not drive after drinking? We can check in with each other and arrange rides as needed.

How an Attorney Can Help After a Drunk Driving Incident

In the unfortunate event of a crash involving a drunk driver, legal assistance is critical for ensuring you are fairly compensated for your damages. Our South Carolina car crash lawyers from Joye Law Firm understand the gravity of these collisions and have experience fighting for victims of drunk driving crashes. Our firm recently secured a $3,000,000 settlement for a Simpsonville man who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a head-on collision with a drunk driver.

We take on cases for all victims of drunk driving accidents, whether you suffered injuries as a motorist or pedestrian, or had your property damaged by an intoxicated driver. This can apply even in cases with no physical injuries. For instance, we won damages for a business owner whose sign was destroyed by a drunk driver.

We will work diligently to obtain reparations for you and your family, including the following:

  • Economic damages. We can help you recover costs for medical treatment, property repairs, and lost earnings. These tangible losses can be calculated and proven with bills and receipts.
  • Non-economic damages. Our legal team can help you get compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. These damages cover the intangible consequences of the crash that are not reflected in bills or financial statements.
  • Pursuing punitive damages. In severe drunk driving cases, we can sometimes help you seek punitive damages to penalize the at-fault driver’s negligence and deter future misconduct.

Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Crash with a Drunk Driver

If you or a loved one have been affected by a drunk driving incident this holiday season, speak with our team at Joye Law Firm. We are ready to guide you through the claims process and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

From personal injuries to property damage, we handle all cases with dedication and compassion. Contact us for a free consultation and take the first step toward a fair settlement for your losses.

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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