The winter holidays are always a time of warmth and good cheer in Austin, but the holiday season also presents heightened safety concerns on Texas roads. Specifically, the risk of being hit by a drunk driver increases significantly between Thanksgiving and the start of the New Year.

In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 80 traffic fatalities in Texas between Christmas Eve last year and Jan. 4 this year. A year earlier, there were 2,367 crashes, 763 serious injuries and 92 deaths — all due to drunk driving between Dec. 1 and New Year’s Day.

The statistics are there to warn and educate, and the emotional and physical toll is all-too-real for families throughout Texas, but drunk drivers continue to get behind the wheel.

Every DUI accident is preventable. Drivers can take the responsible steps of not drinking too much, staying where they are until sober driving is possible, or arranging for a sober ride.

As we discussed in a recent post, people can call a cab or a ride-sharing service to avoid drunk driving in Austin.

For the drunk driver, the legal consequences of a DUI accident may be twofold — criminal and civil.

Regardless of the time of year, quick legal action is needed to preserve the rights of victims of drunk driving accidents. A police investigation can bolster a personal injury or wrongful death claim, and a personal injury lawyer can act quickly to gather police reports and time-sensitive evidence not only to prove the drunk driver’s civil liability, but also to maximize compensation for the victim.

While a drunk driver may face fines and jail time for a criminal conviction, victims or their families also have a right to seek compensation in a civil capacity. This compensation is meant to cover costs resulting from the accident, including medical expenses and lost income.

For more on what to do after an injurious drunk driving accident, please see our DUI accident overview.

The Levine Law Firm would also like to take this time to wish everyone safe travels this holiday season.