Despite the laws and continued education directed at the dangers of drinking and driving there is still an excessive amount of injuries and deaths that occur every year due to this dangerous activity. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control driving while intoxicated or impaired accounted for nearly one-third of all auto fatalities in 2010. In more recent statistics, the NHTSA stated that:
“33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States, including an estimated 10,322 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.”
It is a dangerous epidemic that can cause serious injury or death to the driver, passengers, and other motorists. If you or a loved one has been seriously killed or injured by a drunk driver, you are not alone.
California laws to prevent driving under the influence of drugs & alcohol
California has strictly enforced DUI laws, however, tragedies still occur. In California, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than .08% according to California Vehicle Code § 23152(b).). California also has a Zero Tolerance Law for underage drinking and driving which means that no amount of alcohol is allowed for those under the age of 21 who are behind the wheel. In addition, California law states that:
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
Role of alcohol in traffic accidents
Part of establishing liability in a drunk driving accident case is proving that the responsible party was in fact impaired at the time of the accident. Proving impairment may allow for you to claim damages in a civil lawsuit or pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if a family member was killed.
Regardless of whether or not the person receives a citation for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, if they are responsible for the accident they may be held liable. The fact that their impairment may be used to help establish that were was negligence involved in the accident. In order to make a case the intoxication level of the defendant will have to be established in order to prove that the level was too high to safely operate a motor vehicle and that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care for the public’s safety. It is not uncommon to look at police reports, summon expert testimony and witness accounts to help build your case.
Gregory Fox is a Fresno accident attorney representing people injured by drunk drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a drunk driver The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox can help you recover financial damages for your loss or injury. Our consultations are free of charge and we can discuss your case and determine what the best course of action is for your situation. Please call us today at (559) 222-5800 to schedule.