Learn about the severe consequences of drunk driving, ways to prevent it and how to get compensated for damages. Keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Every day, people in the United States and around the world die in car accidents that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. As lawyers, we’ve handled many drunk driving cases that led to injuries or even death. That, along with the fact that Texas leads the nation in DUI-related deaths, means it is very important to bring attention to the risks of driving under the influence. More specifically, we’re going to discuss the legal consequences of drunk driving, how others can be affected by it, how it can be prevented, and what to do if you or a loved one were injured at the hands of a drunk driver.
The Legal Implications of Drinking & Driving
The consequences of drunk driving can come in many forms, including:
- Court-ordered treatment
- Court-ordered educational courses
- Restricted license
- Jail time
- Compensation to the victim or victim’s family
It can also have a lasting impact on your record, potentially affecting your personal life as well as your ability to find a job in certain industries. The factors that determine how severe the punishment is include:
- Your blood alcohol level: The legal limit is 0.08% for adults over the age of 21. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is significantly higher (especially if it’s more than 0.15%), then the punishment may be more severe.
- Your age: If you’re under 21 years of age, the 0.08% BAC rule does not apply to you. Texas’ Zero Tolerance Law states that minors can not drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. You can read more about this in our previous blog.
- Previous offenses: The judge may be more lenient if it’s your first offense as opposed to if you have previous DUI convictions.
- Injuries caused by the DUI: If anyone was injured as a result of your drunk driving, you will likely face other, more severe, criminal charges.
How Does Drunk Driving Affect Others?
Unfortunately, driving collisions affect families every single day. In the United States alone, there are more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths per year. This incredibly high number does not even include the people who were seriously injured during the accident. As stated on our website, drunk driving collision injuries can cause: concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, whiplash and other neck and spinal cord injuries, broken bones, damage to internal organs, soft tissues, muscles or skin, nerve damage, crush injuries or amputations.
When a person suffers from these injuries, their quality of life can be severely affected, prompting issues with their ability to work, to provide for their family both emotionally and physically, and even their ability to partake in activities they used to enjoy. With such long-term consequences for the victim and their family, they have the legal right to request compensation for their injuries, whether physical, emotional, or financial. We’ll discuss this more below.
How Can Drunk Driving Be Prevented?
With so many alcohol-related traffic accidents occurring every day around the world, we need to educate ourselves on how this can be prevented. There are both legal ways to prevent drinking and driving and other strategies that you can use in your everyday life. From a legal standpoint, the CDC suggests that the following are strategies to reduce or prevent alcohol-impaired driving: alcohol-impaired driving laws, sobriety checkpoints, high-visibility saturation patrols, ignition interlocks, alcohol problem assessment and treatment programs, alcohol screening and brief interventions, multi-component interventions, and school-based instructional programs.
In your day-to-day life, though, there are ways that you can avoid drinking and driving all together. You may choose to have a designated driver, use alternative driving services such as taxis, or even give your car keys to someone you trust when you start drinking. Though many people don’t consider the real consequences when they decide to get behind the wheel, it can severely impact their life and the lives of others for many years to come.
Contact Us if You or a Loved One Was Involved in an Alcohol-Related Car Accident
There are both economic and non-economic damages that a victim may suffer. To learn more about how these damages are compensated and how to prove pain and suffering, read our previous article.
Since this can be a complicated process, we recommend that you hire an experienced drunk driving lawyer if you or a loved one was injured in an accident. Remember that both the victim and family may be eligible for this compensation. If the victim suffered injuries that affected their quality of life, they can make a claim for themselves. If the victim died as a result of their injuries, then their family can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. At AMS Law Group, we have years of experience handling cases involving drunk driving. If you’re in need of legal counsel, please contact us today.