Super Bowl Sunday is coming up fast, and for only the second time in the Super Bowl’s fifty-year history, the big game is being played in the San Francisco Bay Area. Across California and the nation, state and local police agencies are gearing up for the big day – Sunday, February 7 – and they’ll be deploying special DUI patrol units, conducting additional DUI checkpoints, and stopping and arresting more drivers for suspicion of driving under the influence. On Super Bowl Sunday, your chances of getting stopped by a law officer for suspicion of DUI – and your chances of being injured by a drunk driver – are nearly double what your chances would be on a typical Sunday in February. If you are injured by a drunk driver or by a driver who was negligent in any way at all – on Super Bowl Sunday or any other day of the year – discuss the case at once with a good personal injury attorney, and in the Fresno area, speak immediately with an experienced Fresno personal injury lawyer.
Each year on Super Bowl Sunday, there are almost twice as many drunk drivers on California’s streets and highways as there are on a more routine Sunday in February. There’s also nearly twice as much danger. In 2012, alcohol was a factor in 43 percent of the traffic deaths on the day of the Super Bowl and the next morning. According to a report from the Auto Club of Southern California. alcohol-related crashes increase by 60 percent in the Los Angeles area on Super Bowl Sundays, and in San Diego, the number of alcohol-related crashes jumps by 117 percent. If you are driving on the day of the big game, use extra caution.
WHAT ARE THE DUI NUMBERS?
Intoxicated driving on Super Bowl Sunday is a growing public safety concern, and particularly in our own state. 642 alcohol-related fatal crashes happened in California on the ten Super Bowl Sundays from 2002 through 2011, according to the Auto Club’s statistics. If those Super Bowl Sundays had been more typical Sundays, 276 of those accidents – and deaths – would not have happened. “In other words, 28 more alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes occur annually in California due to drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday,” Auto Club researcher Steve Bloch explained to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2012, 803 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes on California’s streets and highways – that’s more than two deaths every day. Thousands of other victims sustained severe injuries. Simultaneously in 2012, more than 170,000 motorists in California faced a charge of driving under the influence. DUI – every year – is the most common crime committed and prosecuted in this state. When you travel on any road in California, it is quite probable that a drunk driver is on the road along with you, and it’s almost twice as probable on the Sunday of the Super Bowl. If a drunk driver injures you, take your case at once to an experienced personal injury attorney. You’ll get the honest and frank legal advice you need, and if you have a personal injury claim and you choose to pursue it, a good personal injury attorney will represent you and your interests diligently and aggressively. If you are injured by a drunk driver in the greater Fresno area, speak as quickly as you can with an experienced Fresno personal injury lawyer.
HOW CAN YOU BE SAFE ON GAME DAY?
Every winning coach has a winning game plan, and your own winning game plan for Super Bowl Sunday – if you’re going to be driving – must include taking as many precautions and taking advantage of as many safety tools as possible. Here are five basic recommendations for protecting your passengers and yourself if you are driving – in the Fresno area or anywhere else – on the day of the big game:
- Be sure to buckle up. It’s certain that intoxicated drivers will be on the road during and after the game. Before Super Bowl Sunday, check your tire pressure, your wipers, your brakes, and your lights. Fix anything that needs to be fixed on your vehicle before you drive it on the day of the Super Bowl.
- Any time you are driving, you are in the center of a constantly-changing traffic situation. Always check in your mirrors – and look in the distance – as well as right in front of you when you drive. Keep enough space between your vehicle and the others so that you can stop or swerve away to avoid any accidents.
- Never drive any vehicle while you are distracted. Allow yourself no eating, applying make-up, or talking or texting on the cell phone. Pull over safely if you need to take a closer look at a GPS device or a road map.
- Absolutely avoid road rage if you see it, and do whatever you must do to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Do not underestimate a drunk or enraged driver’s potential for almost anything. Do not hesitate to report violent behavior or dangerous driving to 9-1-1.
- Never, ever drink and drive for any reason or in any circumstances. Do not drive under the influence of any drug or substance, legal or illegal, that intoxicates you or impairs your ability to drive. Only drive when you are completely sober and alert.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP?
When a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level registers at or above 0.08 percent, that driver is over the legal limit. When intoxicated drivers are responsible for accidents with injuries, the criminal penalties can quite harsh in the state of California, but criminal charges are only one of the consequences a drunk driver can face. A drunk driver who causes injuries can also end up on the wrong end of a personal injury lawsuit. If you are in an accident with and injured by a drunk driver, discuss your options at once with a personal injury attorney. If you have a personal injury claim and you move forward with it, a good personal injury attorney will negotiate on your behalf and reach a satisfactory agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer will take the case to a jury of your peers. More than ninety percent of all of personal injury claims are resolved outside of the courtroom, but if your case goes before a panel of jurors, your attorney will tell the jury what happened and will work hard to win the compensation you need and the justice you genuinely deserve.
After any traffic accident, seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If you are injured by a drunk driver or by any negligent driver, you must establish and keep records of your injury and treatment, and you must adhere to your doctor’s orders. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, and if you have to file a personal injury claim later, the other side may say that your injury occurred in some other way or that you were not actually injured at all. If some injuries – particularly traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries – are not discovered right away, those kinds of injuries can remain invisible for quite a long time and become serious medical problems weeks or months later. Whenever an injury is catastrophic or disabling, a victim will require the maximum possible compensation and a lawyer who knows what it takes to fight effectively for that compensation.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
When a traffic accident happens, you must take several important steps immediately, so it’s important to stay calm and try to think clearly. Medical treatment comes first. Summon it for yourself and for anyone else injured in a crash. Call the police. You’ll need a copy of their report, and you may need them as witnesses. You must obtain the name of the other driver and that driver’s insurance and personal contact information. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact details as well. Also, take as many photographs as possible of the crash scene, damage to the vehicles, and your own injuries. In a personal injury case, your photos can provide compelling evidence.
NFL tight end Delanie Walker played for San Francisco against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. Walker’s aunt and uncle, Bryan and Alice Young, proudly watched their nephew and cheered him from the stands. San Francisco lost that Super Bowl, but the game was not the biggest loss that Delanie Walker suffered that day. Before the day was over, Walker was informed that his aunt and uncle had been killed on their way home by an allegedly intoxicated driver. Walker now works to raise community awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence.
In the Fresno area or anywhere else, if you drive on Super Bowl Sunday, take additional safety measures. We all know there is no one-hundred-percent foolproof way to stop a drunk driver from hurting you or your passengers, but if it happens, legal advice and help are available. If a drunk driver injures you, put your case at once in the hands of a personal injury attorney you can trust. In the greater Fresno area, contact an experienced Fresno personal injury lawyer after any accident with injuries, and don’t wait to make the call.