When behind the wheel of your car there are many dangers that can befall you while driving on the roads and highways of this country. One of the risks that drivers face is the possibility of a drunk driver sharing the roads with you. As much this may seem like a rare occurrence, it happens more than one might think. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there are around 300,000 drunk drivers on the road each day. However, only a fraction of that number, about 2,800 are actually arrested. Drunk drivers pose a significant risk to other motorists as well as those in their vehicles as they can, and do, cause accidents that result in injury or death.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in Philadelphia because of a drunk driver, then you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Please contact the law firm of Gilman and Bedigian today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in nearly every state and the District of Columbia is 0.08 percent. (With the exception of Utah which recently lowered its BAC limit to 0.05 percent.) Drivers who consume too much alcohol and choose to get behind the wheel when their BAC is above this limit are presumed to be too intoxicated to operate their vehicles safely.
Unfortunately, each year in the U.S. many people are killed and injured because a driver made the decision to drive after having one too many drinks. And it's typically not their first time doing so either as the “average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before [his or her] first arrest.”
According to MADD, an individual is injured in a crash involving drunk driving every two minutes. In fact, “[o]n average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.” Tragically, 10,497 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes in 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that this accounted for “28 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year.” In addition to fatalities, nearly 300,000 people were injured in accidents involving intoxicated drivers.
Marijuana And DUI
In recent years, another substance has become increasingly common among those drivers who have been found to be under the influence. This substance is marijuana, which has begun to be legalized in a number of states for recreational purposes. MADD stated that “[t]he percentage of THC-positive drivers increased from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2013/2014, a proportional increase of 47 percent.” As with alcohol, it against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Even so, some “9.9 million people (3.8% of the population) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs” in 2013.
In some states where marijuana has been legalized, the rate of car accidents has increased. CNBC reported that a recent study found that there was “an increase in accident insurance claims in three states that have approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use.” The study was done by the Highway Loss Data Institute and it stated that “the number of vehicle collisions reported to insurance companies in Colorado, Oregon and Washington is 3 percent higher than what would have been expected if those states had not made it legal to buy pot.”
However, it is important to note that this is a correlation as the study found “a greater crash risk . . . [but did not] say if the increase in collisions in the three states were directly caused by drivers who were high.” One of the issues with determining if marijuana is the cause of this increase in accidents is that, unlike with alcohol, there is not a simple and quick way to find out how much marijuana is in a driver's system. In addition, drivers can be impaired by multiple substances which can also make determining the specific effects of marijuana difficult. Though there are police departments testing marijuana breathalyzers, it will be some time before there is something as effective as the alcohol breath test device in regular use.
Drunk Driving In Pennsylvania
Driving under the influence is a problem in every state and Pennsylvania is no exception. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “4,663 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Pennsylvania” between 2003 and 2012. However, this number has decreased in recent years. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's 2016 report on crashes in the state stated that though “[i]n 2016, alcohol-related fatalities were 25% of the total traffic fatalities,” this was less than the three years prior. In 2016, there were 10,256 alcohol-related crashes which was lower than the year before when there were 10,558 such incidents. The number of deaths from these incidents also decreased from 345 in 2015 to 297 in 2016. Of these fatalities, just 16 occurred in Philadelphia. The report stated that “90% of the alcohol-related fatalities (drivers and passengers) were in the vehicle driven by the drinking driver.” In addition, 72% of the fatalities were the individual who was driving while intoxicated.
Contact A Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today
Drivers have a duty to operate their motor vehicles safely in order to prevent accidents from occurring. When a driver fails to uphold the appropriate standard of care, such as by drinking and driving, that driver can be held liable for the injuries his or her negligent behavior causes.
If you or your loved one has been injured because of a drunk driver in Philadelphia, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced and talented attorneys at the law firm of Gilman and Bedigian. Our legal team is dedicated to helping our clients recover just compensation for the injuries they have endured at the hands of careless and reckless drivers. You can reach us by calling 1.800.529.6162 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or you can contact us by filling out the online contact form on our website. Don't let a drunk driver get away with hurting you or your loved one. Let Gilman and Bedigian fight for you.