Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

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Drunk driving is a serious issue. Those who are caught driving while intoxicated can face serious criminal penalties. If, however, you are harmed as a result of someone else’s driving drunk, you should contact a New York car accident lawyer, since you may have remedies available to you in the civil justice system. Depending on the circumstances of the driver’s alcohol consumption, you may have a case, not only against the driver but also against the party who served him drinks. In a recent case surrounding one Buffalo incident, the plaintiffs defeated a defense motion for summary judgment because they had evidence indicating that the driver was visibly drunk but continued to receive more drinks at a party.

Sometimes, life is a series of unfortunate events. Marcy was driving late on April 1, 2013 when she lost control and slammed her vehicle into a concrete barrier. Marcy, her husband, and another passenger got out of the car and stepped onto a grassy area. Another driver then hit Marcy’s car. The husband and the passenger returned to where the cars were located. Police arrived. While the police were working on the scene, another driver hit Marcy’s car, thrusting it into the husband and the passenger, injuring both of them.

The injured men sued the last driver, who was allegedly legally drunk at the time of the accident. The defendant failed field sobriety tests and recorded a .127 result on a blood-alcohol content test. The defendant had imbibed alcohol at a church function and, later, at an event located at the Buffalo Central Terminal. The allegedly drunk driver left the terminal at around 10:30 p.m., stopped at his place of work, and then hit Marcy’s car at around 11:00.

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New York law prohibits alcohol consumption by those under the age of 21, but underage drinking remains a persistent problem in the Empire State. Research indicates that about 70 percent of American teenagers admit to drinking, and a driver under the age of 20 loses their life in a drunk driving accident every 15 minutes in the United States. Zero tolerance laws for underage drunk drivers have had some success, but alcohol consumption is still associated with about 60 percent of all teen car accident fatalities.

The challenge facing legislators and road safety advocates is the often fatal combination of peer pressure, inexperience behind the wheel and the inherent recklessness of youth. Public awareness campaigns have little effect on those who feel that they will live forever, and penalties are rarely a deterrent for those who believe that they will never be caught. Underage drinking and driving is made even more dangerous by the low tolerance for alcohol that many teens have.

Not all of the news about teen drinking and driving is bad. The graduated driver’s license programs that have now been introduced in all states have helped to reduce teen drunk driving by more than half since 1991, and the impact that a DWI charge can have on a young person’s career or college prospects is also an effective deterrent.

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According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, during 2013 alone, more than 10,000 people were killed and 290,000 injured in drunk driving-related traffic accidents. By now, everyone is well aware of the dangers associated with drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, however, despite this knowledge, during 2012 alone more than 29 million people in the U.S. confessed to driving while “under the influence of alcohol.”

In cases where an individual is injured or killed in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driving, it’s wise to consult with an attorney. Drivers who drink and drive may not only be subject to criminal charges, but also civil charges which could result in the award of damages to a plaintiff.

While both criminal and civil cases that are filed against individuals accused of drunk driving typically center on violations and offenses committed while behind the wheel of a vehicle, a unique case out of New York is being closely watched by both prosecutors and defense attorneys throughout the U.S.

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As residents throughout New York plan their New Year’s Eve celebrations, many will likely ring in the New Year with a cocktail or two. For anyone who plans to drink on NYE, it’s critical to also plan for a safe and sober ride home. Drivers who make the decision to drink and drive are ultimately putting not only their own lives in jeopardy, but also the lives of everyone else with whom they share the road.

During the holiday season, New York State Police participate in the “national ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign.” In addition to identifying drunk drivers, through the campaign, police officers also target drivers who speed, don’t buckle-up and violate the state’s Move Over Law.

During the 2014 holiday season campaign, state law enforcement officials wrote nearly 50,000 tickets, roughly 34 percent of which were issued to speeding motorists. Additionally, some 1,730 drives were issued citations related to distracted driving and 697 for failing to “exercise extreme caution when passing emergency vehicles” along the roadside. State police also arrested 702 drivers for driving while intoxicated.

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Most New York residents are likely familiar with the state’s drunk driving laws and that a driver who registers a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is considered to be legally drunk. The laws concerning the use of certain drugs and driving, however, are not as clear or widely known. This is especially true when it comes to laws related to the use of some over-the-counter and prescription medications and also drugs like marijuana which are legal in some states.

Any substance that alters or impairs an individual’s brain chemistry, ability to think clearly and react quickly poses tremendous dangers to the driver who is impaired as well as other drivers, passengers and pedestrians who whom he or she shares the road. Despite this fact, many states continue to struggle with how to deal with drugged drivers.

While some states have what are known as zero tolerance and Per se laws related to the use of certain drugs by drivers of motor vehicles, New York has neither. New York’s driving under the influence of drugs or DUID laws are determined by the level and degree of impairment displayed by a driver.

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By now, most residents in Queens have heard about the tragic limousine accident that claimed the lives of four women who were out attending a bachelorette party. The women were riding in a limo that was t-boned by another vehicle that was being driven by an intoxicated driver. The drunk man attempted to flee the scene on foot, but he was quickly captured. It’s almost difficult to fathom just how many different terrible accident tropes are included in this tragic wreck.

Still, there are many things to consider here. The limousine was trying to make a U-turn at the time of the accident. Was that a legal move? The drunk driver seems to have been traveling at a high rate of speed. So was he speeding or in violation of the speed limit?

 

While these questions may seem like semantics given the driver’s intoxication and instinct to flee the scene, those factors still play important roles in many accidents where there no drunk or fleeing drivers play a role. There really are many things to consider when an accident occurs, even if you may think that the accident was simple and that other people are clearly at fault. Rarely is it that straightforward.

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New York is one of 30 states where liquor stores, bars and restaurants can be held liable for providing alcohol to people whose intoxication results in injuries or death. New York is also one of 22 states that have statutes that limit liability to establishments that served or sold alcohol to underage persons or people who were obviously intoxicated.

The law that relates to civil liability in these cases is called dram shop law. Here let’s discuss the rights that accident victims or their families have under dram shop law in New York.

New York dram shop law states that any person who is injured as a result of an underage drinker’s intoxication has a right to sue the person or establishment that unlawfully provided the alcohol. The injured victim may also have to show that the person who provided the alcohol should have known or had “reasonable cause to believe” that the underage drinker was younger than 21.

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Take one look at any downtown area in New York and you’ll probably see copious amounts of decorations and people rushing from store to store. This can only mean one thing: the holiday season is upon us. But while this is easily visible, there is another thing that the holiday season also brings, and it may not be something that you can easily see either.

It’s the risk of drunk-driving accidents. Every year in the United States, more than 10,300 people die because of drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And while we know that the risk is there because of parties and family get-togethers, we oftentimes don’t see the risk until it’s too late.

As so many of our Queens readers will tell you, drunk-driving accidents are incredibly devastating not only to victims but their families as well. Those that do not result in death typically result in injuries that may require extensive or continued medical treatments. Worst of all, all drunk-driving accidents are preventable if drivers simply remember to drive sober instead of engaging in the risky decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

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The winter holiday season is a time for New Yorkers to celebrate time-honored traditions and enjoy the company of family, friends and co-workers. It’s also a time to look forward to the New Year.

Unfortunately, though, the good tidings too often come to a tragic end because of drunk driving. The holiday season can be a wonderful time to make good memories, and to keep it that way, drivers should take some important safety precautions if they plan to imbibe.

We’ve often written about the devastating effects of drunk driving accidents. To avoid potentially catastrophic consequences, individuals or groups who plan to drink should arrange for a designated driver. It’s well-known advice, but failure to get a sober ride results in far too many injuries and deaths each year.

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The more alcohol a person drinks, the more that person’s ability to drive is hindered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even a relatively small amount of alcohol, resulting in a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent, can diminish a driver’s ability to visually track a moving object or perform two tasks at once, such as driving and talking.

Tests have also shown that a BAC of 0.05 percent can impair coordination, reduce response time and cause difficulty steering. Of course, 0.08 percent is the legal limit for drivers in New York and throughout the U.S., but there has been a significant push in recent years to lower the legal BAC for operating a motor vehicle to 0.05 percent.

There is little debate over the effects a BAC of 0.08 percent can have on a driver. Memory, muscle coordination, concentration and information processing become impaired, and these impairments relate to a driver’s reaction time, vision, balance, speech and hearing. If an emergency road situation arises, a driver with a 0.08 BAC may not react in time to avoid a collision.

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