When two young men and a teenaged girl got into the car with a young driver who’d been drinking, they surely did not envision that the vehicle would wind up submerged in a lake along Deerfield Beach. While the three passengers survived the crash with only minor injuries, the driver lost her life while buried in the muddy waters. It is a cautionary tale that warns of the risks of getting behind the wheel –or into a vehicle–when a driver is incapacitated.
Why People Get in the Car of Drunk Drivers
Statistics indicate that roughly 16 percent of individuals who die in drunk driving accidents are passengers in the drunk driver’s vehicle. Despite local and nation-wide campaigns to educate the public of the dangers associated with impaired driving, the problem continues to pose hazards across the country. Knowing that impaired driving is such a dangerous thing to do, what motivates a person to get in the car with someone who’s not capable of driving safely? Those who’ve studied the issue suggest several scenarios:
- Passengers have been drinking, too, and are not making clear-headed decisions;
- Friends rely on the driver’s self-assessment as to their ability to drive;
- A group may choose the least drunk person to drive, even though that person is still inebriated;
- Passengers simply feel awkward in refusing to get into the car and don’t want to appear rude;
- No one in the group has made a plan for how to get home safely after a night out, so driving seems like the only option.
Alternatives to Getting in the Car
One of the best things you can do to avoid getting into a situation where a drunk driver insists on giving you a ride home is to make a plan before your outing even gets started. Discuss options such as:
- Taking a taxi, ride share, or public transportation;
- Assigning a designated driver;
- Arranging for a friend or relative to pick you up;
- Walking to a safe location.
In the event someone you know insists on getting behind the wheel, whatever you do, don’t get into the car. Instead, do your best to talk that person out of driving, going so far as to take their keys away if possible. If you are unable to stop the individual from driving, call 911 and make a police report. It may seem harsh, but you could very well be saving the lives of the driver and other people out on the road. As we all know, no apology in the world can make up for the loss of a life.
If an Impaired Driver Crosses your Path
If you or a loved one is injured or killed due to an impaired driver, no words can atone for your loss. At The Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we offer more than our heartfelt condolences. We will fight for justice on your behalf. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.