Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

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Raising awareness and educating people about the severe risks associated with impaired driving can help save lives. DUI accidents frequently have devastating consequences, and every one of these crashes is absolutely preventable. With safety and prevention in mind, let’s consider some facts from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

In terms of collisions, injuries, deaths and arrests, roughly one-third of the problem of drunk driving is due to repeat offenders, according to MADD. It is also estimated that between 50 and 75 percent of DUI offenders who have had their licenses taken away continue to drive. New York’s Leandra’s Law provides for the installation of ignition interlock devices after a DUI conviction, but more needs to be done to prevent first and subsequent offenses.

MADD reports that close to one out of every three fatal motor vehicle accidents involves a drunk driver — an estimate that is particularly telling when you consider these numbers:

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As students return to school in September, it is a good time to go over some basic safety precautions to prevent auto accidents. Studies have shown that, in addition to their not having much experience behind the wheel, younger drivers are more prone to take unnecessary risks than older drivers. This fall, parents and educators should to take some time to discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving.

According to statistics from 2007, young people aged 15 to 20 comprised 6 percent of all licensed drivers in the U.S., yet that same year, young-driver crashes resulted in 19 percent of auto accident fatalities. Young drivers and their passengers made up about two-thirds of the individuals killed in crashes involving young drivers.

Underage drinking is a factor in many crashes involving young people. As they return to school, many students become very susceptible to peer pressure, and parents, teachers and safety advocates should explain to students that impaired driving puts their lives and the lives of others at risk.

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Since Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded in 1980, the number of fatal drunk driving accidents that occur each year has been reduced by half. Still, according to 2013 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each day 28 people in the U.S. die because of drunk driving. In 2012, a person died in a DUI accident every 51 minutes.

To bring the problem more sharply into focus, let’s consider some other statistics. The NHTSA reports that in 2011 drunk driving crashes took the lives of 226 children, and 122 of those children were in the vehicle with the drunk driver. Data from the NHTSA also suggests that if all of the individuals who admitted to drunk driving were suddenly to have their own state, then that state would be the fifth most populous in the country.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 112 million times each year, adults drive drunk. That comes to roughly 300,000 incidents of drunk driving each day. Use of alcohol by teenagers takes about 4,700 lives each year, according to the CDC. That figure is higher than the number of deaths caused by all illegal drugs combined.

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In the United States, drunk driving accidents cause thousands of deaths each year. Stricter DUI laws and campaigns to raise awareness have had a positive impact, but the reality is that statistical improvements do little to comfort families reeling with grief in the wake of a death caused by a drunk driver.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), three people are killed every two hours in highway accidents involving alcohol. The authors of a DOT report refer to other unsettling numbers from 2010:

  • That year, 13,365 deaths occurred because of highway crashes involving alcohol.
  • There were an estimated 112 million DUI episodes, with 4 million adults claiming to have driven drunk at least one time in 2010.
  • Eighty-one percent of these incidents were attributed to men.
  • Alcohol-related accidents on our nation’s highways cost Americans roughly $37 billion each year.

The DOT also reports that alcohol was a factor in more than 47 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010, and nearly 34 percent of pedal cyclist deaths that year involved alcohol. With bicycle riding becoming more common in cities across the United States, the number of DUI-related bike accidents could increase or decrease, depending on a variety of factors such as proper bike lanes and more DUI enforcement. Police, lawmakers and everyday citizens must remain vigilant to make a positive impact.

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“Dram shop” is an old term. In England in the 1700s, a dram shop was an establishment that sold spoonfuls of gin, and each spoonful was a dram. Obviously, restaurants, bars and retailers now serve individual quantities of alcohol much larger than a dram, but we still refer to dram shop law when we hold sellers of alcohol legally responsible for damages in the wake of an accident.

In some cases, after an injurious drunk driving crash, the alcohol retailer or vendor can be sued in addition to the intoxicated driver. New York law also allows for a “social host” to be held responsible for serving alcohol to a minor whose intoxication causes injuries to another person. In legal parlance, a social host is generally defined as a person who provides alcohol in a non-commercial capacity.

If a bar or a restaurant over-serves a person who goes on to suffer injuries in a car accident, then the over-served driver may also have grounds to sue the bar or restaurant under dram shop laws.

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Why do some areas have a higher concentration of drunk driving accidents? Well, the factors are various. A higher concentration of restaurants and bars may lead to a greater possibility of DUI crashes. A population’s dependency on personal vehicles, rather than on public transportation, may also be a factor. With these issues in mind, let’s consider some recently published statistics from the New York State Department of Transportation.

According to the agency, from 2010 to 2012, there were more DUI accidents in Suffolk County than in any other county in New York. During that time, 3,561 alcohol-related accidents occurred in Suffolk, while Nassau County saw 2,366 DUI crashes. Of the five boroughs, Brooklyn topped the list with 1,728 drunk driving accidents.

The deputy inspector for the Suffolk County Police Department pointed out that his county has a particularly large number of personal vehicles. He also noted that Suffolk has limited mass transportation and many miles of roadways.

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With proof of liability in mind, let’s consider this scenario: an already intoxicated person enters a drinking establishment or a liquor store and buys alcohol, drinks it, and then drives and crashes into another person, causing injuries.

If this series of events were to happen in New York, would the person or establishment that sold the alcohol to the already drunken driver be responsible in any way for the crash? As with many legal matters, the answer depends on the available evidence.

New York’s dram shop laws provide that, under certain circumstances, alcohol vendors can be held legally responsible for a crash caused by a drunk driver. Proving dram shop liability generally requires evidence showing that the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcohol was purchased. Different people show signs of intoxication in different ways, and the help of a personal injury attorney is typically necessary to prove that an alcohol purchaser was visibly intoxicated.

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With the offense of drunk driving in mind, let’s consider two auto accident scenarios and how insurance adjusters are likely to approach them. First, say a driver pulled out in front of a vehicle that police determined was going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. A crash occurred, and the driver who pulled in front of the speeding vehicle was injured.

When gathering information about a car accident, an insurance adjuster is likely to be thinking about the possibility of a civil lawsuit going to trial. In other words, the adjuster in this case is going to focus on the fact that the injured motorist pulled out in front of the speeding driver. This detail could motivate an insurance company to offer a small settlement and risk the case going to court.

In other words, the injured party in this scenario may need a strong legal team to negotiate an appropriate settlement and take the case to trial if necessary.

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Police officers in New York are charged with upholding the law. While we usually expect to see police officers doing the arresting when it comes to a criminal offense, last week in Queens an off-duty officer was the subject of an arrest after he caused a car accident and left the scene.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the officer was allegedly driving while intoxicated in Queens when he crashed into a car on the Cross Island Parkway. The 37-year-old officer who is a 12-year veteran of the force did not stop after the accident. Fortunately, another driver witnessed the crash, followed the officer and alerted police to the incident.

The officer was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, driving while impaired and refusing to submit to a breath test. Fortunately, no one was injured in this drunk driving accident.

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