Drunk driving accidents claim thousands of lives across the country every year. Even though people know the risks, they continue to get behind the wheel while impaired. This decision can have catastrophic consequences, both for the victim and the driver.
If you’ve suffered a severe injury or lost a loved one in an accident caused by an impaired motorist, please don’t hesitate to contact the Jones Law Group. We’ll do all we can to hold the drunk motorist responsible for their actions and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Use our online form or call (727) 571-1133 for a free consultation.
Drunk Driving Statistics
In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drunk driving accidents claim thousands of lives yearly. More than 13,000 people died in 2021 because someone chose to drive while impaired. About 37 people died daily that year, with one fatality occurring every 39 minutes.
Why Do People Drive Drunk?
Several factors contribute to people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some common reasons include:
- Impaired judgment: Alcohol and drugs impair cognitive functions, leading individuals to make poor decisions, such as choosing to drive instead of finding an alternative means of transportation.
- Overconfidence: Intoxicated individuals often believe they’re less impaired than they actually are, leading them to underestimate the risks associated with drunk driving.
- Social pressure: Peer pressure or social situations where alcohol consumption is normalized can influence people to drive while intoxicated.
- Lack of awareness: Some individuals may not fully understand the consequences of drunk driving or be unaware of alternative transportation options.
Risks of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving poses significant risks to impaired drivers and others on the road. These are just a few of the more dangerous ones.
Reduced Reaction Time
Alcohol consumption slows down the central nervous system, including the brain’s ability to process information and send signals to the body. This leads to a significant reduction in reaction time, making it difficult for an intoxicated driver to respond promptly to unexpected situations on the road. For example, impaired reflexes may hinder their ability to brake or swerve to avoid a collision, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Intoxication impairs a person’s cognitive functions, including their ability to make sound judgments and decisions. This can result in risky behaviors while driving, such as speeding, tailgating, changing lanes without proper signaling, or running red lights and stop signs. Alcohol affects people’s inhibitions, leading them to take dangerous risks they would otherwise avoid when sober.
Impaired Vision and Perception
Alcohol consumption affects various aspects of vision and perception, which are crucial for safe driving. It impairs visual acuity, making it more challenging to see clearly and distinguish fine details. For example, impaired drivers find it hard to read road signs, identify pedestrians or cyclists, or detect hazards in low-light conditions.
Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities. The specific injuries can vary depending on the circumstances of the crash, but common injuries include the following:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head experiences a significant impact or sudden jolt, leading to damage to the brain. In drunk driving accidents, the force of the collision can cause the head to strike the steering wheel, dashboard, or other objects inside the vehicle. The consequences of this injury can last for the rest of a victim’s life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
High-impact accidents caused by drunk driving can result in damage to the spinal cord. This damage can lead to temporary or permanent loss of motor function and sensation below the injury site.
Broken Bones and Fractures
The force generated in a car accident caused by a drunk driver can cause bones to break or fracture. The impact can be severe enough to result in multiple fractures throughout the body. Fractures can cause excruciating pain and limited mobility. Victims may need surgery to align and stabilize the bones for proper healing.
The blunt force trauma experienced during a drunk driving accident can also lead to internal injuries. These injuries may include damage to organs. Internal bleeding can be life-threatening if not promptly identified and treated.
Internal injuries may not always be immediately apparent, and their symptoms may develop gradually after the accident. It’s crucial to seek medical attention following a drunk driving accident to ensure that any internal injuries are diagnosed and treated promptly.
How to Prove a Driver Was Intoxicated
Proving that a driver was intoxicated during an accident is crucial for legal proceedings. Some standard methods used to establish intoxication include:
- Field sobriety tests: Police officers often conduct standardized tests to determine a driver’s physical coordination and impairment.
- Breathalyzer tests: Breathalyzer devices measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by analyzing a person’s breath sample. Results above the legal limit can indicate intoxication.
- Blood tests: In some cases, authorities may conduct blood tests to determine the presence and concentration of alcohol or drugs in a driver’s system.
- Observations and witness testimonies: Eyewitnesses to the accident or individuals who interacted with the driver before the incident may provide valuable information about their behavior, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or the smell of alcohol.
Steps to Take After a Drunk Driver Hits You
Taking the following steps will be essential if you are involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Keeping these tips in mind will help your health and also help improve your chances of winning your case.
- Ensure your safety: Move to a safe location, away from traffic if possible, to avoid further harm.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t exhibit immediate signs of injury, it’s essential to get a medical evaluation to identify any hidden injuries that may manifest later.
- Contact law enforcement: Report the accident to the police, providing them with accurate information about the incident and the suspected intoxication of the other driver.
- Gather evidence: Take photos of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses, if possible.
- Do not confront the other driver: Avoid engaging in arguments or confrontations with the intoxicated driver, as it could escalate the situation.
- Notify your insurance company: Inform your insurance provider about the accident, providing them with all the necessary details and documentation.
- Contact an attorney ASAP: Seek legal representation from an experienced lawyer with a track record of success helping victims of drunk driving accidents. They can guide you through the legal process and help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
Contact Jones Law Group to Speak with a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
The Jones Law Group has a team of skilled attorneys ready to protect your rights and help you get every dollar you have coming. Schedule a free case review by calling (727) 571-1133 or contacting us online.