There is no doubt that drinking and driving do not mix. Public service messages, awareness campaigns, and well-publicized accidents make certain that the this fact is known by all. So how is it that the recent statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) still have nearly nine hundred people dying in Florida each year as a result of drunk driving accidents?
If you have been the victim of a drunk driving accident or have lost a loved one because of an impaired driver, it is important to contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano who will zealously advocate on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve.
NHTSA tracks vehicle collisions across the country, making use of a comprehensive Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to record traffic-related deaths. Improving car safety features and drunk driving awareness campaigns have led to a decrease in drunk driving fatalities, but there are still too many people who disregard the warnings and cost innocent victims their lives. The most recent report shows that many of those victims are in Florida.
In 2011, the most recent reported year, there were 2,398 people killed in motor vehicle accidents. More than one thousand of those fatalities had consumed some alcohol, although they were not necessarily driving. Nearly 900 drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01 or higher. There were 716 drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher, meaning that the driver was legally drunk. These statistics demonstrate that thirty percent (30%) of the traffic fatalities in Florida were the result of drunk driving. This is a startling statistic made more alarming by the fact that these drivers were over four times more likely to have had a previous DUI conviction (based on national statistics) than a driver with no alcohol in their system. A person arrested for driving under the influence may have driven drunk eighty (80) times before being stopped, according to a self-reported statistical average.
As might be suspected, the majority of the drunk driving accidents occurred during the evening hours. In fact, an accident involving a driver who is under the influence is five times more likely to occur at night. In addition, thirty percent (30%) of accidents where an impaired driver was behind the wheel of one of the vehicles took place over the weekend, when a lot more recreational drinking happens.
In 2010, there were 2,274 DUI convictions in Miami-Dade County, second only to Hillsborough County. Florida does have a provision that a person convicted of driving under the influence for the second time must have an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle. Judges do have the discretion to order this after the first conviction if circumstances warrant it. Regardless of all the education and enforcement, there still is a lot more that can be done.
Many people have faced the decision to get behind the wheel of a car after having something to drink. It is very easy to convince yourself that the drinks consumed while out with friends really were not enough to render a driver impaired. As tempting as it is, statistics show that the best decision is to use the ubiquitous cell phone and call a sober driver.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving accident and suffered serious harm, the experienced Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will enforce your rights and achieve some measure of justice. There is no excuse for a person getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car. The medical and financial experts with whom our skilled attorneys work will communicate the trauma and economic ruin that you and your family have suffered as a result of another person’s horrible decision. Our personal injury attorneys have been fighting and winning drunk driving cases for decades.
Please call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case and present your legal options.