Happy New Year 2020 From MyPhillyLawyer, and Our New Year’s Reminder to Drive Safe and Sober
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on December 30th, 2019
With the recent Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa holidays behind us and New Year’s Eve coming up this week, car crash attorneys MyPhillyLawyer want to remind everyone about the dangers of drunk driving and DUI as we begin to welcome the approaching New Year of 2020.
To fight to keep drunk drivers off our roads this holiday season the Pennsylvania State Police will once again be participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving enforcement campaign through Jan. 1, 2020, joining more than 10,000 other law enforcement agencies across the country that are working to cut DUI deaths and injuries over the holidays, when the dangers are more prevalent.
Pennsylvania State Troopers will conduct dedicated DUI patrols and checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers, while a team of certified drug recognition experts — troopers who have received specialized training to distinguish the physiological signs of impairment caused by a wide range of controlled substances — will be on the lookout for drivers who are impaired by drugs as well. Drivers who are operating vehicles while under the influence of drugs will also be targeted and arrested.
During the New Year’s and Christmas holidays in 2018, there were 285 drunk-driving-related fatalities across the nation, according to the NHTSA. For all of 2018, there were 10,511 people killed nationwide in drunk driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities.
A DUI conviction in Pennsylvania can include thousands of dollars in fines, mandatory license suspension and prison time.
To prevent that, the NHTSA created the SaferRide smartphone app, which can be downloaded to a smartphone for free to quickly pinpoint the user’s location and call a taxi or trusted friend for a ride home. The app is available for Android and Apple devices.
We all are responsible, starting with each of us individually, to choose not to consume alcoholic beverages and then hop into our vehicles and drive when our driving skills are impaired.
Bartenders, waiters, waitresses and restaurant and club owners are also responsible through liquor liability laws and dram shop liability to ensure that none of their customers drinks so much that they are visibly intoxicated and a danger to others on the roads. In Pennsylvania, and in other states, there are training programs for bartenders and wait staffs so that they learn when and how to stop customers who are drinking too much. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) offers its Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP), which offers a full range of important training.
That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t end there.
If you are hosting a holiday party this New Year’s Eve, you should be aware of the potential legal liabilities that exist when enjoying the season and serving alcoholic beverages to friends, family and colleagues.
In Pennsylvania, party hosts by law are not held liable and can’t be sued for damages if they serve a visibly intoxicated person and that person subsequently injures himself or someone else while driving drunk, under the Commonwealth’s laws. This also extends to companies which serve alcohol to employees at company holiday parties – the companies are not responsible if someone is hurt or killed due to the actions of a visibly intoxicated employee or guest who attended the party.
The exception to this in Pennsylvania is if a host serves any amount of alcohol to an underage person. In this case, the social host has absolute liability in any damage or injury claims.
In New Jersey, however, and other states, this legal concept of social host liability is the law of the land and you can be sued by victims if someone at your party drinks to excess and harms someone else in a DUI crash or related incident. Under the New Jersey law, party hosts can be sued and found liable for damages if they continue to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
But while Pennsylvania doesn’t include social host liability in its statutes, we all still need to be aware of the issues of holiday drinking and work to ensure our guests head home safely. We all must be stewards of this responsibility.
You must be able to say no to your friends and loved ones if they party too much. If someone is visibly intoxicated, don’t let them drive away on their own. Get them in a taxicab or find them a ride with someone who has not been drinking. Let them sleep in your spare room. Do whatever it takes to prevent a tragedy.
Remember, don’t drink and drive – it can be a life or death choice. Don’t become one of the statistics or hurt or kill someone else or someone you love by driving drunk and getting into a serious accident.
Think of it this way — if your teen-aged son or daughter is out driving this New Year’s Eve, would you rather not allow drunk drivers to be out there on the streets with them, sharing the roads and plowing into them? That’s one reason why we all have to be vigilant for each other. It doesn’t always happen to other families. Such tragedies have perhaps happened to someone in your family, or a friend’s family. No more.
So, best wishes for a properous and Happy New Year 2020 from your friends here at MyPhillyLawyer, but let’s be responsible and careful out there as well. Let’s make 2020 a great year.
Every hour of every day, MyPhillyLawyer attorneys regularly work tirelessly for our own clients who have been victims of life-altering car crashes, truck crashes, motorcycle crashes, workplace accidents and a wide range of other injury cases.
When you need a car accident injury attorney, we here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of car crash, slip and fall, pedestrian injury, workplace injury or wrongful death in Philadelphia or anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Talk to a Philadelphia car crash attorney at MyPhillyLawyer by calling 215-914-5471 or toll-free at 1-866-907-2231 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
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