Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and even a small amount can lead to a decline in a person’s visual functions and ability to judge what is in front of him or her. When combined with driving, it drastically raises the risk for a car crash. New York residents should know that from 2006 to 2017, the annual number of drunken driving deaths was over 10,000.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that every day in the U.S., 30 people die in drunken driving crashes. The annual cost relating to these fatal crashes, including damages from personal injury claims, can sometimes reach as high as $44 billion.
The effects of driving while drunk are numerous. With a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (the point at which someone is legally drunk), drivers will experience vision and hearing impairment, lack of self-control, memory lapses and an inability to maintain the same speed. With a 0.10 BAC, drivers will be unable to stay in their own lane and brake in time.
If people are caught driving while drunk, they may face either a misdemeanor or felony charge. The penalties will vary from state to state but usually include a license suspension, fines and jail time. In some states, including New York, first-time offenders must install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles.
Drunken driving is preventable, and when it is behind a car crash, it can form the basis for a personal injury case on the part of the innocent victims. No matter how strong their case may be, though, victims may want a lawyer by their side because they are bound to encounter opposition from the insurance company. An attorney may hire investigators to obtain the Breathalyzer results and other evidence before heading off to negotiate a fair settlement.