St. Patrick’s Day is known for being a big drinking holiday. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this will likely ring true this year as Maryland recently lifted indoor dining restrictions in the state. Though bars and restaurants in the state had previously been able to operate at 50 percent capacity, they were allowed to operate at full capacity just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, drunk driving crashes and pedestrian crashes are common on St. Patrick’s Day. For this reason, the Maryland Department of Transportation cautions residents to exercise safe driving practices by getting a ride home, and being extra vigilant on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid a Maryland car accident.
If someone decides to go out drinking, there are some precautions that can lessen the risk of a crash. First, designate a sober driver. If someone is going to drive, decide ahead of time who that person will be. Second, plan to eat throughout the evening. Eating throughout the night will create a buffer between the alcohol you are consuming and your stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol. Third, drink water. Drinking water throughout the night helps to reduce overall alcohol consumption and keeps you hydrated. Fourth, do not leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers. Fifth, have a backup plan. Use a rideshare app to get home, call or a taxi, or have a friend on call if things do not go as planned. Sixth, watch out for pedestrians. Alcohol consumption is involved in almost half of pedestrian crashes. Be vigilant if you are driving and if you are on foot. Seven, take care of your friends. Make sure that your friends have a safe and sober ride home, as well.
In the event of a Maryland car accident alleging negligence, an injured individual must prove that the defendant was negligent by acting or failing to act in some way. This means proving that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the individual, that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, that defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care caused the individual injuries, and that the individual suffered damages. In the case of gross negligence, a plaintiff must prove the elements of a negligence case, and must show that the defendant acted with a wanton or reckless disregard for others. In a drunk driving case, others may be responsible in addition to or in lieu of the driver, including a parent or another person who negligently entrusted the driver with a car, or a bar who served the driver alcohol when they were already visibly intoxicated.