safe new year's eve

2016 is quickly coming to a close and New Year’s festivities are upon us. Whether you’ll be counting down to midnight at a club, at a party, or in the comfort of your own home with family and friends, staying safe and avoiding the pitfalls of alcohol overindulgence is of utmost importance. Today we bring you our top tips for enjoying the celebration safely, without worry of legal trouble due to accidents or injuries.

Use a Designated Driver If Traveling

We advise not driving at all on New Year’s Eve in Portland. ​Instead, we encourage you to stay indoors with friends and family while enjoying the warmth of a fire, eating a fabulous meal, and relishing fun games and movies. This is a wonderful evening for TV marathons and spending time with the people you love all while enjoying the safety of a New Year’s Eve spent at home.

If you must travel, however, say to a concert or a relative’s house, we implore you to use a designated driver. You can elect a member of your party as the sober driver, or you can use paid transportation options like Uber, Lyft, and taxi cabs to drive you to and from each destination.

Penalties for DUII in Oregon

DUII in Portland accounts for more than half of all fatal car crashes, a third of pedestrian fatalities, and three quarters of motorcycle fatalities, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Data from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) shows that alcohol greatly increases the number of automobile-related deaths on New Year’s. The statistics for pedestrian safety are far more distressing, as they illustrate that New Year’s Day is the most hazardous day of the year to walk through our city streets.

The penalties for a DUII in Oregon depend on how many prior offenses the individual has. The first offense could garner 48 hours up to 1 year in jail, a fine of $1,000-2,000, and a mandatory one-year license suspension. The penalties increase for a second and third offense. Penalties are determined based on a person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): individuals under the legal drinking age of 21 must register at .00% (zero tolerance), and individuals 21 or older have a legal limit of .08%.

If an intoxicated driver causes a car accident that results in injuries, deaths, or property damage, he or she will be held legally and criminally responsible.

Social Host Liability Law

If you plan to host a holiday party with access to alcohol this year, you should familiarize yourself with Oregon’s social host liability laws. Why? Oregon, like many other states, has enacted laws holding party hosts liable for alcohol-related injuries, accidents, and deaths.

Our general social host liability statutes are applicable to guests of all ages, whether the party goer is a minor or well above legal drinking age. This puts added pressure on you as the host to ensure that guests are not imbibing more than they can handle or more than is legal, and that you call cabs for anyone who shouldn’t be driving.

Public Transportation in Portland

We are lucky to have so many wonderful low-cost and efficient public transportation options in Portland. As we previously mentioned, party goers can hail taxi cabs, hire private drivers through Uber and Lyft, or use TriMet. TriMet provides complete, free service after 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 31 to promote driver and pedestrian safety.

If you’re a new Uber customer and need a ride after Trimet service ends, use the code PDXNYE to save $25 on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Uber will also donate $1 to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) for each ride taken.

New Year’s Eve is a wonderful time to celebrate a world of new possibilities with family and friends. We hope the tips we’ve provided in this blog post help you make your New Year’s festivities safer for all involved and allow you to revel in a responsible manner. Happy New Year from the staff at Paul Galm Law!

If you have questions about DUIIs in Oregon or would like to discuss an accident you were involved in, contact Portland personal injury attorney Paul Galm today for a free consultation.