Happy New Year! Now that the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to make plans for 2016. Some of those plans may involve using the family automobile. These trips can result in tragedy if motorists around the country do not operate their vehicles safely. One of the easiest things most motorists can do during the holiday season is to wear a seatbelt. According to the NHTSA statistics on holiday car collision fatalities, during the 2013, Thanksgiving holiday, 301 people died in automobile collisions. 58% of those who died were not wearing a seatbelt. It’s clear that wearing a seatbelt can be one of the greatest safety tools for you and your family over the holiday season.
It should also be noted that according to the most recent research in 2013, during the Christmas holiday season, 1180 people died in car accidents. 30% of those fatalities involved a drunk driver. Please be aware of these safety statistics when riding with a friend or loved one during the holidays. Any friend or loved one who has been drinking and is driving you during the holidays puts you at risk.
However, if you are involved in a collision that involves another motorist who is under the influence of alcohol, you may have legal rights. Injuries from a collision involving an intoxicated motorist during the holidays can result in a claim where you are most likely entitled to compensation. Also, family members of those who die in an automobile collision as a result of another motorist’s intoxication may have a wrongful death and survival claim. The time limit to bring a claim for wrongful death and survival varies from state to state, and it depends on who the potential defendant is.
Please be careful as you approach your plans for the new year. In the event that a collision occurs on the roadway and someone is injured or dies as a result of negligence and/or intoxication of another motorist, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your legal rights with regard to that occurrence. I can be contacted at my office number or on my cell phone, (864) 706-8707, at any time to discuss a potential case.
On behalf of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., we wish everyone a happy and safe new year.
Thomas A. Killoren, Jr.
 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Thanksgiving Travelers: Law Enforcement Is on the Lookout for Unbuckled Motorists – Click It or Ticket (November 27, 2015), http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/CAMPAIGNS/Seat+Belts/Click+It+or+Ticket/Thanksgiving+Weekend.
 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving You Could End Up Dead (November 28, 2015), http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/preHolidaySeason.