This fantastic holiday is a celebration of all things Mexican, although for many in the United States it is a chance to kick back, unwind and enjoy some drinks with friends. Unfortunately, many over-do the celebrations around this time, which in turn results in drunk driving arrests, automotive accidents, and catastrophic injuries. If you plan on celebrating this year, be sure you remain safe by understanding New Jersey dram shop law. Here’s everything you need to know about dram shop laws and staying safe this Cinco de Mayo.

Tips to Stay Safe this Cinco de Mayo

Don’t Drink and Drive

While this should be a no-brainer, there are far too many drunk driving arrests and accidents around holidays such as Cinco de Mayo. According to a leading manufacturer of breathalyzers, BACtrack, Cinco de Mayo is the holiday with the highest number of drunk driving incidents. Even more worrying, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 38 percent of all traffic accidents during Cinco de Mayo involve a person with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. Don’t become another statistic by drinking and driving.

Plan Ahead

If you do plan to go out and drink on Cinco de Mayo, the best thing you can do is make a plan. If you are driving to a bar, make sure you have a good idea of how you can get home. Maybe you can bring a sober friend to drive your vehicle back, so you don’t make a stupid and costly mistake by driving. There are also several services which pick up your car and take you home, similar to efforts run by AAA during the New Year.

Don’t Go Out Alone

The best way to stay safe during Cinco de Mayo is to stay home. After all, if you avoid going out and getting drunk, you likely significantly reduce your chances of suffering an injury. If you do go out, make sure to go out with friends you trust.

Going out alone raises the risk of getting drunk and making foolish mistakes. Besides, if you go out alone, and walk at night, you may not be seen by a drunk driver. Going out with a group also dramatically reduces the dangers you may face from strangers or those out to commit crimes, such as robberies, kidnappings – or worse.

If Walking, Stay on the Sidewalks

If you decide to go out and have fun but leave the car at home, make sure you strictly adhere to all New Jersey traffic laws. Staying on sidewalks, using crosswalks, and obeying traffic signals give you the best chances of avoiding an accident with a distracted or impaired driver. This advice is particularly useful in the evening, when the combination of darkness, poor lighting, and alcohol may result in catastrophic injuries. Also, If you are walking at night, be sure to wear bright clothing to increase the likelihood of motorists seeing you.

Report Drunk Drivers

The best way to keep not only yourself safe, but everyone else, is to report drunk drivers if you see them. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) offers the following warning signs to look out for in drunk drivers:

  • Driving much slower than the speed limit
  • Driving with their headlights off at night
  • Almost striking curbs, vehicles or other objects
  • Swerving
  • Tailgating
  • Erratic braking or stopping for no apparent reason
  • Weaving or zig-zagging
  • Drifting in and out of lanes
  • Straddling the center line marker
  • Slow responses to traffic
  • Erratic signaling or signaling which doesn’t match their driving actions

If you spot a drunk driver, call the police immediately. Reporting drunk drivers not only keep other road users and pedestrians safe, but can also potentially help save the life of the drunk driver. If driving, do not try to pass the drunk driver, instead stay as far away as possible. Be sure to record the license plate number and any information you may have about the make, model, and color of the vehicle. Finally, call 911 or the police and report all the information you have, as well as your location.

What to Do If You Are Injured This Cinco de Mayo

If you are injured by a drunk driver this Cinco de Mayo, you may have the right to seek compensation under New Jersey dram shop law. Under New Jersey law, an injured party can sue the premises that served the drunk driver alcohol. This law is known as third-party dram shop liability. Specifically, the law states that the individual who the premises serve alcohol must be “visibly intoxicated” when they were served, or the premises – or dram shop – must have had a credible reason to know the individual was underage. Should either of these be true, state law places some of the responsibility on the bar or venue.

The success of a dram shop liability case in New Jersey hinges on the ability to show the dram shop’s negligence. Because of the complex nature of establishing negligence, it is vital that you speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney immediately after your injuries occur.

Contact DeZao Law Today

If a drunk driver injures you in an accident this Cinco de Mayo, you may be able to claim compensation – not only from the driver but also from whoever provided them more alcohol than they should have. If you are the victim of dram shop negligence, seek expert legal guidance immediately. Speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. today. Our firm provides dram shop law services and is here to assist you with all aspects of your case. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.