While most of us will be celebrating the upcoming 4th of July with family and friends, enjoying the fireworks, food, and what feels like the heat of summer in full effect, there are always people who will choose to act recklessly, putting innocent lives in danger. Unfortunately, the reality of alcohol-related accidents on holidays where alcohol flows freely such as July 4th, when the heat is high are all too real. To avoid becoming the victim of someone else's recklessness, or getting into an accident yourself, it's important to have plans in place for alcohol consumption. This is especially true if you're a parent or guardian of minors.
Within this article, the Shaked Law Blog will offer safety tips as well as everything you need to know for holidays when drunk driving is at an all-time high and instances of motor vehicle accidents skyrocket, often causing victims a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering.
Drunk driving is a topic everyone at the Shaked Law Firm takes extremely seriously year-round, and we encourage anyone who has become the victim of these senseless tragedies or who wants to help prevent them to visit organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Americans United Against Drunk Driving and Responsibility.org. These websites offer consistent research and educational materials for those who want to do their part to stop the drunk driving epidemic in our country.
Your safety plans are more important than your party plans
If you're planning to be on the road after a party, make plans to stay safe in advance. No party is more important than your life, or the life of your loved ones.
- What's the plan of action for getting home safely? How will you and your family arrive home safely?
- Who will drive? Have you selected a designated driver that's agreed not to consume alcohol?
- Do you have alternative methods of getting home? Do you have ride-share apps such as Lyft and Uber pre-installed on your smartphone or tablet?
These are questions that must be addressed before the party starts in order to avoid dangerous situations such as drunk driving accidents, DUI charges, and in worst-case scenarios: fatalities. Too many innocent lives have been lost on holidays known for alcohol consumption due to a careless or reckless choice made by a driver who assumed they could drive themselves home.
Uber, Lyft apps should be a party-goers first choice
After a night of drinking and partying, Uber and Lyft should be a party-goers first choice of safety measures to get home without incident. Utilizing these ride-share services are not only cost-effective (multiple people can share one ride!), but they practically eliminate the chance of someone in your group becoming injured due to an attempt to drive after one, two, three or more drinks. There is never a time when "I've only had one drink!" should be an acceptable excuse to get behind the wheel. If there isn't a designated driver because everyone chose to drink, Uber and Lyft are the best options to avoid an unnecessary tragedy.
Use Google and the ride-share apps themselves to find out whether the services in your area are offering free rides for those who wisely choose not to drink and drive on holidays. If you're a AAA member, the company is offering free rides and free towing to customers in many of their service areas.
There is never an excuse to drink and drive; don't put yourself or someone else on the road at risk because you make a reckless and unreasonable choice to get behind the wheel. Your choices have far reaching consequences. You could wind up with a serious DUI charge, suspended license, medical bills, and the reason someone loses their life. Don't put yourself or anyone else in this situation. Drinking and driving is never a "cool" thing to do!
Alcohol and minors don't mix
While party hosts might thing it's "no big deal" to offer alcohol to minors in their own homes, they would be wrong. Any time alcohol is served to a minor, whether in an establishment such as a bar or restaurant or in a private residence, there is serious liability involved. This liability falls under "social host liability" in the event that the alcohol consumption takes place in a private residence, and "dram shop laws" should the consumption take place in a public establishment.
It's a well known fact that not all states enforce the same level of dram shop laws and therefore, it is important that your attorney has a clear cut understanding of the dram shop laws that apply in the state you reside. In the state of Florida, there are extremely limited dram shop laws, however, official state statutes stipulate the following:
768.125 Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication. A person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, except that a person who willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person.
Staying safe doesn't mean sacrificing the fun
Shaked Law Firm is providing these helpful tips to keep everyone safe this festive Fourth, but staying safe doesn't mean sacrificing the fun! Enjoying barbecue (and ice cream a treat to cool down from the heat!), watching the professional fireworks displays throughout South Florida, and spending quality time with family are all things to look forward to this holiday. Summer is a time to slow down, enjoy all the season brings, and relax after a long school year for the kids and long work days for the adults.