Drunk Driver Accident: How to Protect Yourself
Drunk driver accidents are far too common in the United States and have a devastating impact on those involved. According to the NHTSA, approximately 1/3 of all car accident fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In 2018, NHTSA data shows that 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes.
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. And there are very serious ramifications if a person is caught operating a vehicle with a BAC in excess of the above mentioned limit, including fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation and the use of an ignition interlock device (which prevents a vehicle from operating without the driver blowing into the device to prove a clear BAC). Although the above penalties would seem like enough to prevent a drunk driver accident, there are still people who drink and drive.
How can you protect yourself against drunk drivers and drunk driving accidents? First and foremost, make sure you wear your seatbelt. This tip seems trivial, however you would be surprised at how many of our clients fail to wear their seatbelts. Do seatbelts save lives? YES. Do seatbelts lessen injury during a car crash? ABSOLUTELY. Minimally, a seatbelt can prevent a head injury. A recent case of ours involves a low speed crash, where the front seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, and this passenger’s head broke the windshield. This type of injury is preventable, and is within your control.
Second, stay off the road during the late night and early morning hours. As reported by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the highest number of drunk drivers are on the road between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. Additionally, the number of fatal drunk driving accidents are also four times higher at night than they are during the day. There are of course times when some people cannot avoid traveling at this time. For instance, truck drivers may need to be on the road at these times. But, for the average person, a late ride on the roadway can put you at unnecessary risk of encountering a drunk driver. Other risky times to be on the road are unfortunately holidays and weekends. Drunk driver accident rates increase during these times.
Third, and this tip applies ALL the TIME, use extra caution at intersections and keep additional distance between your vehicle and other vehicles. Keeping extra distance will help you avoid side swerving that is common with drunk driving. In terms of intersections, if you have a green light, you should still slow to make sure a there are no vehicles attempting to run a red light. If you are sitting at a red light, and your red light turns green, take a moment to look around to make sure no one is trying to “beat the light.” These types of “beat the light” scenarios can be deadly, because the impact is usually a high speed T-bone type of accident, which can cause significant injury and vehicle damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, call our accident lawyers for a FREE consultation. Our accident lawyers in Philadelphia and Bucks County have been fighting for the rights of personal injury victims for over 40 years.
Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C. 215-567-1900 or toll free 855-822-6783