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According to Wikipedia, “Blackout Wednesday” refers to the night before Thanksgiving. Sometimes it is also known as Black Wednesday, or Drinksgiving. It earns this name due to the large amounts of partying, and by extension alcohol consumption, the day before Thanksgiving. For a lot of young people, they are off from work or school, and likely aren’t worried about doing a lot of cooking for Thanksgiving. Additionally, many students who have gone away to college, take advantage of reuniting with hometown friends. As a result, it is considered one of the biggest party days of the year.

Typically, the more parties happening, the higher chance of encountering drunk drivers, and Blackout Wednesday is no exception. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Thanksgiving holiday produces more people killed in drunk driving crashes than the Christmas holiday. Upserve reports that beer sales increased by about 270% and liquor sales increase 114% on that day. So while restaurants and bars staff up and stock up, so are the police stations. They will be on high alert to protect the community from drunk drivers. Whether you will be going out yourself that night or find yourself on the road that evening, it’s very important to be responsible for yourself. Here are some tips to be safe during Blackout Wednesday.

Drink Responsibly

Alcohol obviously has the ability to impair judgment. The more you drink, the worse your decision-making is and could lead to a person making potentially dangerous choices. It’s good to know your limits before you’ve had too much.

Additionally, excessive drinking can cause a number of problems for a person’s short-term and long-term health. Short-term risks include nausea, loss of consciousness, poor quality of sleep, vomiting, increased aggression, and alcohol poisoning. Long-term risks could lead to liver damage, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and depression.

Have A Designated Driver

This is a very simple and very effective way to ensure that everyone gets home safely. The designated driver eliminates any kind of driving risk since they opt to remain sober for the entire night. Take turns for who is going to be the designated driver among your group, and make sure you contribute in gas money for your chauffeur for the night.

It’s very important that the person who is the designated driver has zero alcohol. Any consumption of alcohol has the ability to impair a person. For the average person, it takes 2-3 drinks to become legally intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) occurs when a person is driving while their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds .08 in the state of New York. This results in a minimum license suspension of six months. Additionally, a driver facing a DWI could also serve jail time and have to pay hefty fines.

However, a driver is also at risk of getting a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) when at a BAC of .05 .This can impair someone after having as little as one standard alcoholic drink. So if you are the designated driver, don’t risk it and don’t have any drinks that night.

Identify a Dangerous Driver

If you do have to go out driving late Wednesday night, then there is a chance you will encounter a drunk driver. The best way to protect yourself is to pay attention to the best of your abilities to signs of a dangerous driver and take the necessary defensive driving measures.

Take note of the signs of a drunk driver. Teach your children who may now be driving as well so they can learn to drive defensively as well. A driver may be drunk if he/she is:

How To Respond to a Drunk Driver

If you see some of these things taking place, it is likely you are sharing the road with a drunk driver. First and foremost you want to stay safe, and then do what you can to report the driver. Follow these steps:

The best way to avoid drunk drivers is to avoid driving altogether the night before Thanksgiving, if possible. Try and get your groceries finished as early as you can, so you can avoid the risk of sharing the road with a drunk driver. Additionally, if your kids or teens are hanging out with friends, it might be a good idea to set a curfew for them or arrange for them to sleep over. This would decrease the risk of you or your teenager to share the road with an intoxicated driver. We wish everyone a safe Thanksgiving weekend here at Palermo Law.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.

There’s no question that designating a driver reduces drunken driving accidents and saves lives.

Designated Driver Statistics

As time goes along, more and more people have gotten on board with the idea of designating drivers. A Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) survey done in 2014 showed:

Who Is Most at Risk for Drunk Driving Fatalities?

Drunk driving takes the lives of young drivers more than any other age group:

Always preparing ahead for a designated driver shows more than good character; you’re looking out for yourself, your friends, and others on the road. Being the designated driver shows just as much good character. But what happens when your designated driver plans fail? There are other options, and you should know about these options should this ever occur.

Other Options When Designated Driving Plans Fail

If everyone in your group wants to party and drink, and no one wants to be a designated driver, there are other ways to designate a driver, such as:

Designate Your Driver Ahead of Time

Don’t wait until you’ve already started drinking to designate a driver. By then, your thinking is impaired, and you probably won’t realize you need one.

Designated drivers are on the rise. However, according to MADD, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes. Also, on the average, 2 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving accident during their lifetime. To repeat, 2 in 3 people will be injured in a drunk driving accident – whether they’re the at-fault driver or not. This prediction is staggering. We all must make very precaution we can and learn not to be so complacent about our driving habits. Even one drink could impair your driving – especially if you’re on medication that enhances alcohol’s effect on the brain. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.

Be safe. Always designate a driver ahead of time. Your safety isn’t always in your hands, but in this case, it is. Never drink and drive, and never get in the car with someone you even suspect has had a drink or taken drugs. And know that there are ALWAYS available options for you (and your friends) to get home safe and sound.


Drunk Driving Accident Copiague

Early Tuesday morning in Copiague, a Babylon man lost control of his pickup truck. He was driving drunk and crashed into a pole. As a result of the impact, he and his two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. According to the Patch, Elmer Santos-Cardoza, age 24, was driving a 1999 Dodge pickup truck on Sunrise Highway, east of Great Neck Road. The other two passengers were Melvin Mansonarez, age 20 and Jose Sanataria, age 20, also of Babylon.

The driver and Mansonarez suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment. However, after ejection, Sanataria was hit by a 42-year old driver of a 2008 Toyota Camry. He was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital to receive treatment for serious injuries.

Facts about Ejection Accidents

Considering it is likely that none of the passengers were wearing seatbelts, they were fortunate that the ejection didn’t cause greater injuries. Statistics indicate that one in every five occupants thrown from a car dies from fatal injuries (University of Michigan study) In fact, ejected occupants have a fatal injury rate that is 40 times the rate for occupants not ejected from their cars. Typically, wearing seat belts prevent ejection. Being thrown from a car gives no advantage for surviving. Also, statistics don’t support the idea that wearing safety belts increases fatality risks from vehicle fires or submersion under water accidents.

To avoid accidents, don’t drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt. If you are a victim of an accident that is not your fault and your injuries are serious, a lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation to offset medical expenses.

Drunk Driving Accidents on Long Island

A drunken driver crashed his van into a Suffolk County police cruiser and fled the scene on Saturday night in the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway near the William Floyd Parkway. Long Island News 12 reported that the accident occurred in Brookhaven, where the police officer had pulled his marked cruiser off to the side of the road to help a driver whose vehicle was on fire. Rescue personnel airlifted the officer to Stony Brook University Hospital, and hospital staff determined that his injuries were not life threatening.

The driver of the van fled the accident scene on foot and was later taken into custody. Police identified him as 27-year-old Carolos Morocho. He had been charged with DWI two times previously and currently faces criminal charges for DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, failure to move over for an emergency vehicle, false personation and operating a vehicle without an interlock device.

During the arraignment hearing on Sunday, Morocho pled not guilty but was held on $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail.

When injuries are serious based on the NY State serious injury threshold, and the other party is at fault for causing the accident, you can recover compensation for injuries through a civil lawsuit. Generally, lawyers pursue civil lawsuits after the criminal lawsuit concludes. Attorneys represent seriously injured parties to help them recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages related to the accident.

Drunk Driving Checkpoints

Suffolk County Personal Injury Lawyers

Conscientious drivers take safety precautions that include preventative driving, keeping vehicles roadworthy and designating drivers when they’ve been drinking. However, even the best and most careful drivers are unsafe when drunk drivers are on the roads.

Our police officers put a lot of effort into taking drunken drivers off the road during the holidays. Recently, over the Thanksgiving weekend, authorities set up sobriety checkpoints in various locations on Long Island. Members of the community like Dawn Nappi are also behind this effort, helping the police do sobriety checks and working on legislative measures to stop drunk driving. Seven years ago, Dawn’s 14 year-old daughter was killed in a traffic accident caused by an unlicensed driver on drugs. Dawn is a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and sits on the legislative board.

The Long Island Press reported that Suffolk County authorities arrested 60 drivers, the highest number of DWI arrests on Long Island. Arrests were made between 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and 8:00 a.m. on Monday. Nassau police made 57 DWI arrests between 7:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve and 7:00 a.m. on Monday. The New York State police reported three weekend DWI arrests, and of the arrests, a Glen Head woman allegedly drove while intoxicated with two children in her car.

No one should be the victim of a drunk driver. Through the efforts of police, members of the community and legislatures, drunk driving statistics have dropped considerably over the past few decades. Victims of drunk driving accidents have the right to pursue legal action if their injuries meet the serious injury threshold established by New York statutes.

Please drive safely during the holidays and have a happy season.