The Life-threatening Realities of Drunk-driving

On April 22, 2015, at about 2:30 in the morning, a Toyota Prius that was being driven by a 19-year old female collided head-on with a pickup truck along Highway 50 (near Stockton Boulevard) in Sacramento. Witnesses said that the female driver drove eastbound on the fast lane of Highway 50; she, however, drove on the wrong lane (the westbound lane).

All three passengers of the pickup truck, as well as the young female driver died in the crash. Weeks of investigation into the accident revealed that the 19-year old driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20% at the time of the tragic accident.

Drunk driving still remains to be a major traffic offense in all U.S. states. In 2013, those arrested and charged with DUI in the U.S., including in the District of Columbia, totaled to 1,171,935. In 2010, records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed that the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million. With these huge figures traffic authorities are relieved that the yearly number of fatal accidents does not go over 10,500. Authorities attribute this bit of success in being able to maintain the number of fatal accident to stricter laws, the zeal of traffic enforcers in implementing these laws, and to the efforts of private groups, such as the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, like the Zero Tolerance law that prohibits those 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.

The current blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for car drivers is 0.08%. This BAC limit is still considered high based on the fact that a person’s driving ability and response time to emergency situations are already affected even at 0.05% BAC level. Application of the law, however, only allows traffic enforcers to consider and, therefore, arrest an individual due to alcohol-impairment if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher. Those caught can face a drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI) charge. To further reduce risks of accidents due to drunk-driving, some states authorize traffic enforcers to consider a driver as already alcohol-impaired if they see that his or her abilities have been affected by alcohol even if such driver’s BAC level is below 0.08%.

Drunk-driving injury lawyers, such as those from the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., know that a drunk driving charge can have serious repercussions and can affect an at-fault driver’s entire personal, professional, and financial life upon conviction. The said firm, however, also believes that getting drunk and then driving is a choice freely made by a person. In the event of an accident, therefore, the driver who is at fault in the accident should be brought to justice, be made to pay the consequences of his or her poor decision, as well as be made to pay compensatory damages to his or her victim/s.