DUI, or driving under the influence, is a leading cause of injury and death. In 2017, a 69,000 drunk driving accident was reported to the police. Each year, drunk drivers have to pay almost $20 billion for the injury, death, and property damage they caused. A person who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs is found to be guilty.
No one wants to be a victim of reckless driving. The Federal Criminal Law stresses on the drunk driving crash cases. The provinces and territories are also taking measures to decrease drunk driver accidents.
How Alcohol Affects Driving Ability
Alcohol consumption reduces the functionality of the brain. It impairs vision, thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. These abilities are essential for driving.
The walls of the stomach and intestine directly absorb alcohol. After that, alcohol enters the bloodstream and liver. That is called Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The alcohol level is measured by the weight of alcohol present in a specific volume of blood. BAC of 80mg in a deciliter of blood can make someone fully drunk. Lesser than this amount affects too.
Some effects caused by alcohol consumption is the following:
- Loss of judgment
- Blurry vision
- Reduce concentration
- Poor muscle coordination
- Low self-control
- Slow thinking
- Loss of balance
Types of Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving can cause severe damage. When one is under the influence, he can quickly lose control and cause harm to others. There are several types of accidents that are common for drunk driving accidents.
When both vehicles come from different directions and collide face to face, this type of accident is known as a head-on accident. That happens mostly when one driver is distracted. In drunk driving, the driver feels drowsy, falls asleep, and causes head-on accidents.
They go to the wrong lane where vehicles are coming from the opposite side. With impaired visual and thinking, while drunk driving, many don’t notice the traffic lights, therefore causes accidents.
Being drunk many people cannot determine distances. When they drive drunk, they crash into other vehicles for not understanding how far that vehicle was. Their reactions get slow, so they cannot quickly respond or do something to save the accident.
A drunk driver gets behind the wheel, believing that he can slow down or stop the car swiftly, but alcohol slows their functionality. This type of accident also happens when a drunk person tries to switch lanes. In a fast-paced road, a drunk driver cannot precisely change route and collide with other vehicles.
As alcohol consumption impairs clear vision and swift response, the drivers often hit pedestrians while driving. With blurry vision, they cannot clearly see and get distracted. They cause accidents in intersections or pedestrian crossings.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Drinking makes one distracted, and one starts texting, speaking, etc. only a few seconds’ distractions are enough to cause a severe accident.
Injuries from Accidents
A drunk driving crash can cause slight scratches to severe injury. It is not something that you should take lightly. Below are some of the health damages that can happen in a car crash.
- Head Trauma or brain injury
- Broken bones
- Neck injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Chest injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Injuries in the lower part of the body
Investigation: Alcohol Screening
To determine whether a driver is under the influence or not, the police can ask him for alcohol screening. A breathalyzer is used. It measures the BAC through the breath. If higher toxicity or other drugs are involved, one can be asked to get blood tested. If an individual refuses to do alcohol screening, he can get penalized.
Drinking and Driving Laws
The federal Criminal Code states all about drunk driving, offenses, enforcement, and penalties. These laws are based on 80gm alcohol as the legal limit. The provinces and territories also can implement additional rules as they have authority over provincial highways and roads.
Penalties for Drunk Driving
The criminal law prohibits driving with any level of intoxication. Intoxication includes alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The penalties for this crime can range from a thousand dollar fine to lifelong imprisonment.
- BAC 80-119gm, First offense: mandatory minimum $1000 fine
- BAC 120-159gm, First offense: mandatory minimum $1500 fine
- BAC 160gm or more, First offense: mandatory minimum $2000 fine
- First offense but refuse to be tested: mandatory minimum $2000 fine
- Second offense: mandatory minimum of 30 days imprisonment
- Third or more offense: mandatory minimum of 120 days imprisonment
- Impaired driving causing no bodily harm:
- Summary conviction: maximum of 2 years imprisonment less a day
- Indictment: maximum of 14 years imprisonment
- Impaired driving causing death: maximum life imprisonment
In addition to the Federal Criminal Code, most provinces have some laws for decreasing irresponsible driving.
- Except for Quebec, all provinces have the Administrative License Suspension (ALS) program for people driving with BAC .05% or higher.
- Almost all provinces or territories has Grudatuated Licensing Program for 1.5 to 3 years. This program includes a .00% BAC requirement, restrictions for night-time and highway, and a limited number of passengers.
Why Do You Need to File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit
If you have been injured or lost a family in impaired driving, you can file a lawsuit against the driver. As the driver’s negligence caused the accident, the negligent is liable for his action in most cases. The negligent party will give compensation to the victim. There are several claims you can make being the victim. Commonly the claims involve three types of damages. They are-
The injured person or his/her family will get compensation for an impaired driving accident. The settlement will cover losses due to the accident. Compensation includes medical bills, medication costs, therapy, rehabilitation, property damage, loss of wages, etc.
Punitive damages are a way to punish the driver who was driving under the influence. It is to warn them that this type of irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated. Punitive damage is available if the driver had a high level of alcohol or other drugs in his system. The driver can also have illegal substances too.
Dram shop laws
In most cases, the victim seeks compensation from the driver under the influence. But sometimes another party can be involved too. The victim can sure drinking establishments like bars, clubs, liquor stores, or restaurants. A drinking establishment can be held accountable if:
- A beverage was sold to a minor which occurred an accident and injured or killed an individual
- A beverage was sold to a person who was already intoxicated. The person then caused an accident that wounded or killed an individual.
It is essential to consult a drunk driving accident lawyer when an accident under the influence occurs. The victim has every right to get compensation, and the laws work for that too. a lawyer will help you claim what is rightfully yours and for the damages you experienced.
When involved in an accident where the driver is under the influence, you should try to get as many details as possible, leading to the accident. You should take driver information, witness information, take pictures, and seek necessary medical help.