Things You Should Know About Drunk Driving Accidents
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Oct 08, 2018 in Auto Accidents
Arizona highways are flooded with tourist and local traffic, and car accidents are commonplace when people are distracted, attempt to speed through rush-hour traffic, or speed excessively in zones where slower speeds are mandatory.
What makes an already frightening situation worse is when one or more drivers are driving while impaired. Drunk driving creates a no-win situation for victims, the drunk driver, law enforcement, and the innocent bystanders who may get injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may have legal options. Contact an Phoenix car accident attorney at Phillips Law Group to schedule a free, no obligation consultation for more information.
Current Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people in the U.S. are killed in car accidents by a drunk driver. With one death every 50 minutes, impaired driving has become a major risk for other drivers sharing the road.
As of 2016, 10,497 people have died in drunk driving accidents. This equals to 28 percent of all car accident related deaths nationwide. More than 1 million drivers were also arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the same year.
In Arizona alone, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 4,854 total accidents causing 3,095 injuries and 320 fatalities in 2017. The majority of these crashes occurred in urban areas (78.88 percent) verses rural areas (21.12 percent).
The Effects of Alcohol While Driving
Consuming alcohol impairs brain function, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All of these abilities are essential to operating a car safely.
As alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, its negative effects on the body’s central nervous system also increase. The level of alcohol in a person’s body is measured by the blood alcohol content or BAC. A BAC of 0.08 or higher is not only illegal in all 50 states, it can significantly increase the risk of a car accidents.
At 0.08 BAC, after about four alcoholic drinks, your muscle coordination becomes poor, it is hard to detect danger and your judgment, reasoning and memory are impaired.
However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. For example:
- At 0.02 BAC (about two alcoholic drinks), your judgment is impaired
- At 0.05 BAC (about three alcoholic drinks), you may have impaired judgement, lowered alertness and loss of some muscle control such as eye focus
Arizona Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties
People convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol face a variety of penalties under Arizona law.
First-time offenders could get up to 10 days in jail, a minimum 90-day suspension of their license and at least $250 in fines and penalties. Second-time offenders can receive up to 90 days in jail, license suspension for one year and at least $500 in fines. Third-time offenders spend a minimum of four months in jail, receive a minimum of $750 in fines and penalties and have their license suspended for one year.
With each new drunk driving offense, penalties and fines increase in severity. Eventually, your license can be taken away for nearly the rest of your life.
Drunk Driving Prevention Tips
There are several steps you can take to avoid drunk driving:
- Always having a designated driver if you go out drinking with a group
- Not letting friends or family members drive impaired
- If you have been drinking, get a safe ride home from someone
- If you are hosting a party where alcohol is involved, make sure to remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver and/or offer plenty of food with non-alcoholic drink options
Contact a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney
Drunk driving comes with devastating consequences that can impact the rest of your life. It is important to avoid drinking and driving at all costs, as an ounce of prevention may lower the rate of alcohol-involved deaths in Arizona.
If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, our Phoenix personal injury attorneys can review your situation and determine the legal options available to you. We work on contingency which means there are no upfront costs involved unless we help you recover fair compensation for your case.