November 6, 2012
With the holiday season fast approaching, people get busy meeting with friends, family, and loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, etc. While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, they are also a time when some people decide to drink more than they should. With impaired judgment, some people choose to get behind the wheel often leading to tragic results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a government agency, almost 30 people in the United States die every single day in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related accidents totals more than $51 billion dollars. With those sobering statistics as a backdrop, accident-related deaths due to drinking increase even more during the holiday season with the increase in office parties, “happy hours,” and the overall festive mood.
Drinking and driving, however, is nothing to celebrate. Given the potential for life-altering consequences, it’s a significant problem that should demand the attention of every sensible person. How big is the problem? Consider the following facts and judge for yourself:
- More than 10,000 people died in 2010 from alcohol-related car accidents
- Of the 1,210 traffic deaths involving children in 2010, 17% involved an alcohol-impaired driver
- In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
- In approximately 18% of cases involving impaired drivers, drugs other than alcohol are involved.
When a person gets into a drinking and driving accident, they are at fault for negligence and negligence per se. The negligence claim falls under the driver, who caused the accident, failing to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner. Negligence per se is when a person is negligent in their actions because it violates a statute. Statutes are enacted to protect motorists on the road and through a violation of the statute, many people cause accidents, of which driving the under the influence and following too closely are just some of them.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident involving a drunk driver, you have legal rights. The value of your potential “case” may increase significantly where a drunk driver is involved. For this reason, it’s essential to make sure you have highly experienced and aggressive representation. Dealing with both a civil action and the rights you have as a victim in a potential criminal case requires legal representation that understands your full panoply of legal rights.