How many times have you picked up a newspaper to find stories that involve drunk driving accidents? In fact, drunk driving accidents have become so common these days that experts estimate three out of every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash at some point in their lives. In 2011 alone, there were 9,978 fatalities involving drunk drivers. To put the statistics in perspective, you can look at it this way: Every two minutes someone is injured in an alcohol-related crash and every 30 minutes someone is killed as a result of drunk driving. With the problem increasing in severity, officials are now considering lowering the legal blood-alcohol content limit.
The Reality of Drunk Driving
Although there are laws in place to combat California drunk driving, the problem is growing on a national scale. With drunk driving accounting for approximately one-third of all traffic deaths, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now calling on states to take one united step toward eradicating the problem…lowering the legal limit for drivers’ blood-alcohol content. Currently, the legal limit for blood-alcohol is 0.08 percent and officials think that number is too high. The NTSB wants to see states lower the legal limits to at least 0.05 percent.
Why, despite such a large push to combat the problem, are alcohol-related accidents still such a lethal danger? The experts at the NTSB believe the reason is because the current legal blood-alcohol content level is too high. Research shows that drivers with a blood-alcohol level that exceeds .05 percent are simply too impaired to drive and pose a significantly increased risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured. That means the current legal limit of .08 percent allows thousands of dangerously impaired drivers to get behind the wheel, putting innocent motorists and pedestrians in grave danger.
According to the NTSB, people mistakenly believe that if a driver is under the legal limit of .08 percent, they are just fine to drive. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, by the time a driver actually reaches a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, experts believe the likelihood of being involved in a fatal accident has at least doubled.
Drivers who drink to higher levels naturally pose increasing dangers to motorists and pedestrians. For example, drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .10 percent or higher are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash, when compared to drivers who have not been drinking at all. A driver with a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent or higher is actually 25 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
Lowering the blood-alcohol content limit only one recommendation among a total of 19 made by the NTSB to reduce drunk driving. Some of their other ideas included high-visibility drunk driving enforcement and an overall increase in the use of interlock devices, which work to prevent the operation of a car when its driver is impaired.
Drunk Driving is a Crime
The undeniable fact remains that drunk driving is a criminal act of negligence. A negligent act, such as choosing to operate an automobile while intoxicated, can result in both a crime and a personal injury lawsuit. This means that drunk drivers can be found liable for a personal injury claim and guilty of crime.
While San Francisco drunk driving victims or their families may be eligible for compensation from California’s laws allowing victims to file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation from the drunk driver, the process can often seem overwhelming. Complicated legal proceedings, technical laws or the thought of an overall exasperating process is often too much for some San Francisco victims. At a point when victims and their loved ones should be focusing on recovery, the last thing you need is the personal injury claims process adding unnecessary stress. This is exactly why the Law Offices of Nelson C. Barry III devote such effort and care toward handling all aspects of your personal injury claim process. We work hard to keep both victims and their loved ones informed every step of the way, while addressing your concerns and questions immediately.
For more information on this or other car accident related issues, contact San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer Nelson C. Barry III for a free initial consultation.