Archive for the ‘Drunk Driving’ Category

Sep 2014

Preventing Irvine Drunk Driving Collisions Critical Autumn Task

After consuming alcohol, impairment begins almost immediately. Even a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 has a measurable impact on your judgment and mood. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make clear, the more alcohol you consume, the more your cognitive and physical function are affected. When you have consumed too much alcohol, you can no longer effectively do basic tasks like driving. This is why we try to keep drunk drivers off the road. 

There is a lot of focus on preventing intoxicated driving the summer months when kids are out of school and when people tend to drink on holidays like Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. In fact, as Forbes reports, August is the most dangerous month of the year. However, just because the summer is over does not mean that the risk of drinking and driving decreases in Irvine or across California. In fact, football season, Halloween and Thanksgiving are times during fall when a lot of drunk people are on the roads.

Drivers need to do their part to prevent drunk driving collisions this fall by making a commitment not to drink and drive. Education and enforcement can also help to reduce the risk of motorists getting behind the wheel impaired.

Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents This Fall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a high-profile crackdown over Labor Day. The nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign ran from August 15 through the holiday weekend and the goal was to catch drunk drivers before they could hurt themselves or others.

Campaigns like this one are important because of the tremendous costs of drunk driving. Lost lives cannot ever be measured. However, the NNHTSA did estimate the costs of drunk driving. The NHTSA found that intoxicated drivers cost the nation $47 billion in direct economic impact in 2010 alone. This is an average of $152 for every single person in the United States.

When also factoring in the loss of life and the loss of quality of life due to permanent injuries, the cost of drunk driving rose to $195 billion. Each year, there are more than 10,000 deaths annually because of intoxicated driving. In California alone, 802 people lost their lives in 2012 according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. A total of 35 percent of the people who die are passengers, are occupants of other cars or are not occupants of cars at all. Bicycle riders, pedestrians and innocent motorists could die because of someone’e else’s decision to drive intoxicated.

Even a simple injury can be expensive. In crashes where a driver has a blood-alcohol content of .08, the average economic cost of a minor injury is $22,000, not counting an additional $25,000 in losses caused by a reduced quality of life. If the victim of a drunk driving suffers a critical injury, the costs can be as much as $1.1 million plus almost $5 million for the lost quality of life.

Driving drunk is not worth the cost. Just because the Drive Sober campaign is now over does not mean that you shouldn’t still be aware of the risks of arrest, accident or injury.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 to speak with a personal injury attorney in Irvine, CA. 

California Falling Short in Preventing DUI Accidents

Every state is permitted to make its own laws on drunk driving. However, the federal government has certain requirements for states to make sure they are doing enough to keep the roads safe from intoxicated drivers. If a state fails to meet the minimum federal requirements, it can find itself having some of its federal highway funds diverted. The money from the federal government, which is normally appropriated for road construction and maintenance, can be diverted to be used only for drunk driving programs and enforcement if the state falls short with its DUI laws. 

Our Irvine, CA car accident attorneys know that California is currently not in compliance with the federal requirements. As USA Today reports, California stands to have $70.5 million diverted into DUI programs. Of course, having extra money to prevent drunk driving is not necessarily a bad thing. However, USA Today reports that many states are upset by the federal government’s changes to the DUI requirements and by the funding restrictions being imposed as a result of tougher federal standards.

Federal Requirements for DUI Laws

In prior years, a law called the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) set the rules for what laws the states had to have in place in order to be in compliance with federal requirements and to receive their highway funds unrestricted. TEA-21 requirements mandated that states have:

  • A law setting .08 as the legal limit.
  • An open container law forbidding any open containers of alcohol to be in the passenger compartment of a car being driven, even if the container belonged to a passenger or was in an unlocked glove compartment.
  • Laws imposing more stringent penalties on repeat violators of drunk driving laws. The penalties must include a license suspension of at least a year as well as immobilization or impounding of the vehicle of the drunk driver. States also needed to assess the need for treatment, require treatment if necessary, and impose minimum periods of either community service and/or imprisonment depending on whether the offense was a second, third or subsequent offense.

If states complied with these and other TEA-21 mandates, they could receive their federal highway funds to use for road construction and maintenance. If they didn’t, then there were restrictions and a portion of the federal money was limited to being used for DUI programs and efforts. In June 2012, however, the federal government updated TEA-21, passing the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century law. This is now known as MAP-21 and it imposed some additional requirements and standards on states for complying with federal DUI mandates.

California, and many other states, are not living up to the new requirements or the stricter enforcement requirements under the MAP-21 rules. Many states had laws that were acceptable before but which are no longer considered adequate under the new requirements.

Because California doesn’t have sufficient DUI laws, we will now have over $70 million diverted that could have been used to fix failing infrastructure. California should strongly consider making necessary changes to impose stricter DUI laws both to reclaim its highway money for construction and to help to keep residents of the state safer from drunk drivers.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.