Drunk-driving is a major traffic offense in all U.S. states. This is because alcohol impairs a person’s motor skills and mental capacity, and affects his/her coordination, reaction time, judgment, perception, and overall capability to keep his/her focus on the road. Lack or loss of control over any of these skills can easily result in a crash that can injure or kill not only the drunk driver himself/herself, but also his/her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. It is due to the increased risk of harm that innocent individuals may befall which makes drunk-driving a major traffic violation.
Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08 percent, studies have shown that even at 0.02 percent BAC level, a person’s driving ability and response time can already be affected. The possibility of figuring in a crash increases after 0.05 percent BAC, becoming even higher after 0.08 percent; thus, under all state laws, an individual is considered alcohol-impaired if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher and, if caught, will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI). To further reduce the risks brought about by drunk-driving, however, some states authorize traffic enforcers to charge a driver with impaired driving or DUI even if such driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is below 0.08 percent, so long as the arresting officer sees that the driver’s abilities are impaired.
In 2013, there were 1,171,935 DUI arrests in the U.S. In 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million. With these staggering figures some traffic authorities are even thankful that the number of fatal accidents (due to alcohol and/or illegal drugs impairment) has not gone beyond 10,500 during the recent years). Well, thanks to stricter laws, the zeal in enforcing these laws, the harsher penalties, and to the efforts of private groups, like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, such as the Zero Tolerance law (which prohibits drivers below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol) and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law (which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.
Traffic authorities, however, know that despite all the efforts from government and private groups, people will continue to get behind the wheel of their vehicles even if intoxicated. According to Williams Kherkher, “Individuals who drive drunk often convince themselves that they are fully capable of operating a vehicle. In reality, drunk driving can cause individuals to execute a number of extremely dangerous driving behaviors including: speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, ignoring traffic signals, changing lanes without looking, weaving/swerving between lanes, overly aggressive driving, failure to use headlights or turn signals, and falling asleep behind the wheel. These behaviors, among others, exhibited by drunk drivers can cause catastrophic accidents.
“Every year,” as mentioned by Milwaukee personal injury lawyers in their website, “thousands of Americans are seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers. These incidents are tragic because they could be wholly prevented were it not for the recklessness of those persons who choose to drive after they have consumed alcohol.”
The possible financial burden victims may suffer due to an accident, according to West Palm Beach injury attorneys, is due to extensive medical bills, lost wages, and painful injuries that can keep them out of work for an indefinite period. Thus, besides possible jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and license suspension, the liable party can also face monetary liabilities or compensation which they will have to pay to their victims.
What Is The Difference Between A Car and Truck Accident?
When cars and trucks collide, the result could be devastating. Due to their sheer size, any collision with commercial trucks will almost always result to serious injuries or worst death. A Truck accident lawyer in Atlanta will tell you that truck accidents can cause undue suffering to those the driver of the car will leave behind. Truck and car accidents are different in a wide range of aspects.
Perhaps the most obvious difference is the consequence. As they are larger and heavier than cars, accidents involving cars will result to greater harm. Aside from that, the problems associated with trucking accidents can be more costly, complicated and difficult than a car accident. There are unique aspects of truck accidents that make it different from car collisions.
Another difference between truck and car accidents lies in the manner damages are awarded to the plaintiff. In car accidents, as Oklahoma City car accident attorneys from the Abel Law Firm will tell you the plaintiff may be able to receive compensation depending on the circumstances. The central concept in a car accident is to pay the plaintiff in such a way that the surviving loved ones will return to the same position they were before the accident.
In truck accidents, the injured person needs to sue a truck driver for all the injuries and any consequences that arise from the accident. Similarly, the prosecutor can receive compensation for accident-related bills such as medical care, rehabilitation, and others. They can receive damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and non-economic damages.
Given the seriousness of truck accidents, most drivers are required to carry insurance with higher liability limits. So unlike in a car accident, the potential settlement value in truck accidents is much higher. Likewise, in a truck accident, the trucking company can be held liable for the accident. In a car accident, there is no one else liable except the driver.
A trucking accident is almost always severe considering its size compared to other vehicles. According to the website of Ausband & Dumont, accidents caused by a reckless or negligent truck driver always carries a wide range of consequences ranging from medical bills, lost wages to physical and emotional trauma. It is worth noting that an average passenger car weighs 4,000 pounds as opposed to the more than 80,000 pounds of a semi-truck. So when a car gets involved in a crash with a truck, the result is almost always devastating.
When trying to recover the damages, cases would always point at who was responsible for the collision. While the truck driver is often considered as the liable party, this will not always be the case. There are other parties that could contribute to the accident. For example, the accident may have been due to a defective brake, then the fault should not be pointed on the driver but the manufacturer of the truck who failed to ensure that the brake was in good working order.
There were even times when trucking companies tried to avoid any responsibility for trucking accidents. There are several ways they can do this:
First, they apply for the required permits to operate the truck. The company does not own the tractor, trailer, or equipment and instead leases them from another company. They also do not employ the truck driver but hires them as independent contractors from the leasing company.
The trucking company will then give the leasing company its name and its permit number. Once the truck gets involved in an accident, the trucking company will then argue that the driver is not their employee and they do not own the equipment. To remedy such situation from happening, Federal laws now make trucking companies liable for any accidents whether or not the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
When proving liability, the plaintiff must show that the defendants erred in their duty of care and hence should be made to pay for any damages.