Deadly Drunk Driving Accidents
May 13, 2020
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 30 people die in drunk-driving crashes every day. Despite the fact that the number drunk-driving crashes has fallen steadily over the past three decades, more than 10,500 people still die in tragic and preventable accidents each year.
How Alcohol Impairs Drivers: Blood Alcohol Concentration
Alcohol causes a variety of impairments, and many of its effects make it impossible to safely operate a motor vehicle. Once a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, his or her chances for getting into an automobile crash increase exponentially – but even at lower levels, alcohol can cause deadly consequences for drivers and passengers. Here are just a few examples of how alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive:
- At a BAC of .02, typical effects include a decline in visual functions and a decrease in divided attention, or the ability to perform two tasks at the same time,
- At .05, a person experiences reduced coordination, difficulty steering and tracking objects, and a reduced response to emergency or sudden scenarios,
- Once a person’s BAC reaches .08, he or she experiences short-term memory loss, lack of speed control, impaired perception, and limited ability to concentrate,
- At a BAC of .10, typical effects include a measurable deterioration of a person’s control and reaction times, reduced ability to brake properly and maintain the lane positioning, poor coordination, and slowed thinking, and:
- At .15, people experience a substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to tasks, and in the ability to process necessary visual and auditory information
In all 50 states it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or above. Despite the legal cutoff, nearly 2,000 people die in accidents involving a striking driver with BACs between .01 and .07 annually.
There can be major legal consequences for driving impaired, like getting arrested, paying substantial penalties or fines, and losing your license, but more important to remember is that when you get behind the wheel after drinking, you can seriously injure or kill someone. In fact, in the United States one person dies every 50 minutes in a drunk-driving crash. Although most states crack down on drunk drivers and employ strict enforcement policies in order to limit the number of crashes, far too many innocent people are injured or killed in these preventable accidents every year.
What to do if you are the Victim of a Drunk-Driving Accident
If you were in an accident involving a drunk or impaired driver, he or she may be liable for any injuries or damages that occurred. If you believe a drunk driver hit you, call the police. The police will not only take steps to get the at-fault driver off the road before he or she hurts someone else, but will also collect critical information and create an accident report. Even if you do not feel as though you require immediate medical attention, do not refuse medical care. Accidents are scary and chaotic. Someone may have so much adrenaline going that they fail to notice their injuries at the time of the incident, which is just one of the reasons why it is so important to see a medical professional who can realistically assess the victim’s condition.
The next step is to gather as much information as possible before leaving the scene of the accident. This includes:
- Potential witness information,
- The at-fault driver’s insurance and contact information (if you do not feel safe or comfortable getting this information from the driver you may request it from the police instead), and:
- Photographs of the scene, any damages, and any visible injuries
Also make sure to request the claim number for the accident report so that you can obtain a copy once it is available.
If you were in an accident with a drunk driver and sustained injuries or damages, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can help answer your questions and determine liability.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Automobile Accident Victims
Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading. Our legal team serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.