The Fourth of July, Independence Day, might be a day of celebration, but it is also one of the most dangerous holiday weekends of the year. Accidental deaths and injuries skyrocket when you combine fireworks, pool parties, alcohol and driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the death toll from car crashes on Independence Day averages a whopping 118, more than even New Year’s Eve. With these numbers, safe driving practices are a must when you hit the road this July.
DUI-Related Accidents Skyrocket
Out of those deaths, 41 percent have at least one driver involved with a BAC of .08 or higher. July 4th is both one of the most dangerous and drunken holidays of the year.
Did you know:
• 40 percent of all vehicle fatalities occur on July 4th weekend each year.
• On this holiday weekend, alcohol-related crashes jump to six times the daily average in some areas.
• More New Year’s crashes involve alcohol, but more fatalities happen during the 4th.
Driving after a few drinks might seem like a good idea, but it can have lasting consequences, even if you manage to walk away from the accident.
How a DUI Can Affect Your Life
You know that more people drive while over the legal limit on the Fourth, and so do the police. In an attempt to reduce the number of holiday crashes, many police departments set up extra checkpoints and screen thousands of drivers. One DUI arrest can result in serious consequences. Depending on your BAC level, you could face:
• More than six months in jail, even for a first offense.
• A fine of $2,000.
• Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, forcing you to perform a BAC test before starting your vehicle and during normal driving.
• License suspension for an extended period of time.
These consequences come directly from the law, but you can also face additional and lasting financial penalties in the form of an insurance rate hike. A single DUI can raise the cost of your auto insurance by more than $1,500 per year for many years to come. While that high-risk premium might drop off after three years in some states, it can remain on your record and continue to affect your premiums for the rest of your life in states like Alaska. A $20 case of beer could cost you as much as $12,000 when you do no damage and no one is injured. That’s a pretty hefty price tag to avoid the cost of a taxi or an Uber.
How to Avoid a DUI
The easiest and best way to avoid a DUI conviction is by giving up your keys before you start drinking. Assign a designated driver or make arrangements to grab a cab after a night out. If you do get pulled over and happen to have a BAC over the legal limit, get help. You may need to go to court to fight the charges or work out a plea agreement. No matter what the charges, you can still make a case for avoiding a conviction and keeping your driving record clean.
If you are stuck with a car insurance rate hike after a DUI, contact Freeway Insurance to get a new quote. Working with a company that has experience with high-risk drivers can help you find an affordable coverage option after a conviction.