In recent years, brunch has become a growing trend across the United States and Maryland. According to the Washington Post, Google searches related to brunch have steadily risen since 2004. In addition to food, many people may find brunch appealing due to the alcoholic drinks served at many restaurants. While brunches may be entertaining for many, they might be contributing to increased cases of impaired driving fatalities. New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that motor vehicle accidents related to alcohol impaired driving have increased in recent years between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details of the NHTSA Data
Data released by the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) analyses the occurrence of fatal drunk driving accidents across the United States. Between 2013 and 2017, Maryland ranked 18th for the highest rate of fatal accidents between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Morning and early-afternoon impaired driving accidents resulted in nearly 4,000 deaths during the five-year span. Additionally, FARS data reveals that the occurrence of fatal drunk driving accidents has increased from 2015 to 2018, the highest rates since 2002.
Drunk Driving in Maryland
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.1 percent of Maryland residents reported driving after consuming too much alcohol, compared to just 1.9 percent nationally.
“While more research may need to be conducted to determine if increases in DUIs and accidents are related to the increased popularity of brunch, driving under the influence is dangerous at any time of day,” said Kush Arora of Price Benowitz, LLP. “Impaired drivers may experience an increased likelihood of being involved in an accident as alcohol slows reaction time and reflects”
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) revealed that impaired driving contributed to nearly 10 percent of automobile accidents overall within the state, and one third of those accidents between 2011 and 2015 are fatal accidents.
Maryland Impaired Driving Penalties
Individuals facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges for the first time in Maryland could face significant fines and jail time. This includes up to a year in prison and a fine as large as $1,000. The penalties for impaired driving could become more severe if the person charged has prior DUI offenses. Similarly, the penalties related to drinking and driving increase if a passenger under the age of 18 was also in the vehicle.
Avoiding Drinking and Driving in Maryland
There are several actions that individuals can take to reduce the likelihood of drinking and driving within Maryland. Many DUI prevention and safety experts recommend that groups select a designated driver prior to meeting. In cases where a group does not have a sober individual willing to drive, ridesharing services or taxis may frequently be available throughout Maryland. In order to prevent the likelihood of an individual drinking and driving, individuals could hold on to their car keys and refuse to get in a vehicle with an impaired driver.