By Christopher J. Smith, managing partner
A rise in alcohol sales during lockdown and the pandemic could make July this year even deadlier for driving. During July, with July 4th being a key factor, more people die in drunk driving crashes than any other month, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Early May represented the strongest growth rate for alcohol sales since the “peak pantry-loading week” in late March, according to figures from market research firm Nielsen, which noted alcoholic beverage sales were up 55% as of the week of March 15-22 across the country. Spirit sales were up, too, and have soared to 75%, while beer sales saw a 66% jump and wine sales spiked to 42% when compared to this time last year.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) notes drunk driving is still the No. 1 cause of death on our roadways. Every two minutes, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash, and every 51 minutes, someone is killed, with drunk driving impacting two out of three people in their lifetime.
This is despite efforts to curtail drunk driving since 1980, when MADD was started by one mom whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver at her kitchen table. While the number of drunk driving fatalities has been cut in half since then, alcohol-related deaths remain the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
For the third year, Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz will be a presenting sponsor for Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Walk Like MADD 5K that raises money to fund free victim support and drunk driving prevention programs in Southwest Florida.
This year’s Walk Like MADD Saturday, Sept. 26 will be virtual. Although virtual, the event will still offer amazing food (via coupons), finisher medals, 5K place medals and, in place of an event shirt, a custom neck gaiter. For information on supporting or joining the walk, click here.
Walk Like MADD provides an outlet for those affected by drunk and drugged driving to channel their grief into hope and healing and gives communities the chance to surround and support those hurting by taking action to prevent others from suffering. MADD believes that drunk and drugged incidents are not accidents because they are the result of choice, not chance.
Here is how you can avoid being part of July’s grim drunk driving statistics, provided by State Farm insurance:
- Always choose a non-drinking designated driver — every time you go out.
- If you go out alone, do not drink alcohol. Order a non-alcoholic beverage such as a soft drink or water.
- Never feel pressured to drink alcohol. If you do plan on drinking, do so responsibly. Eat plenty of food and drink water.
- If you have been drinking, call a taxi or car-sharing service for a ride, like Uber or Lyft.
- Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
- Protect others by taking their keys if they try to drive after consuming alcohol. They may be mad at you, but the alternative is much worse.
- Be careful on the road. Pull over and report drivers you suspect to be under the influence by calling 9-1-1.
I have been been a team leader for Walk Like MADD and was named after a family member who was killed by a drunk driver. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries due to drunk driving, it is important to seek legal help. Our attorneys have over five decades of experience with personal injury cases.