Despite it being one of the first lessons we learn about driving, there are still countless people out there getting behind the wheel of a car when they have had some drinks. Not only does this put the drunk driver in danger, but also pedestrians, passengers, and others out on the road. It’s tragic when you or one of your loved ones is involved in a serious crash and suffers from severe injuries or possibly even dies; but it feels worse when that accident is caused by the recklessness and neglect of another driver.
Being the victim of a drunk driving accident can leave you changed for the rest of your life, perhaps needing consistent medical treatments long after the accident happens. If that’s the case, you need a dedicated Huntsville drunk driving lawyer who can make sure that you are compensated for your pain, suffering, and financial loss.
Why is drunk driving so dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach .08 percent, your muscle coordination declines (balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), it becomes harder to detect danger; and your judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired. These factors affect your driving drastically by hampering your concentration, short-term memory, speed control, information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search), and perception.
How common is drunk driving?
When it comes to drunk driving in the United States, the current snapshot is not encouraging. According to the NHTSA, “Every day, about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 45 minutes. In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths — a 14% increase from 2019. For the past decade, an average of 10,500 people die every year from drunk driving accidents.”
In Alabama, the numbers are especially discouraging. According to DriveSafeAlabama.org, “the proportion of fatal crashes involving DUI is over 3.8 times that of all crashes” accounting for about 50% of all fatal crashes in total. Over half of all victims were between the ages of 20 and 39.
What are the types of accidents caused by drunk driving in Alabama?
Since driving under the influence can impair a driver in many ways, multiple types of accidents can be caused by those drivers. Not only can they swerve into oncoming traffic but fail to recognize a red light at an intersection or be too slow to hit their brakes in time. These accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death.
The most common drunk driving accidents include:
- Head-on crashes: Head-on crashes happen often when the driver swerves into oncoming traffic or heads the wrong way down a one-way street. When a driver is under the influence, their judgment and reaction times are impaired, and they may not notice that they are swerving over the lines in the road or notice the signage dictating a one way street.
- Rear-end crashes. Since reaction times are slowed when driving under the influence, drunk drivers are less likely to brake in time should the vehicle in front of them come to a sudden stop in front of them. Driving under the influence may cause the driver to follow too closely behind the car in front of them, meaning less reaction time should that driver stop suddenly.
- Pedestrian crashes. One of the more dangerous crashes for the victim of a drunk driving accident are pedestrian crashes. Pedestrians do not have anything protecting them against being hit by a car (whereas cars have airbags, seatbelts, and an entire car around them to protect them). Drunk driving accidents with pedestrians are often fatal for the pedestrian.
- Intersection crashes. Intersections require close attention and communication between drivers. When a driver is under the influence, they may forget the rules of the intersection, forgo communicating with others, and neglect waiting their turn, or the traffic lights and signage. Intersection crashes are some of the more dangerous types of accidents as they can lead to multiple car crashes.
These crashes and accidents can lead to injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, broken bones, amputations, paralysis, and even death. While the physical injuries are painful and traumatic enough, these injuries can lead to lifelong treatments, complications, and conditions. If you are injured severely enough, it may cause you to lose your ability to work, causing a loss in income. This is why it is important to have a drunk driving lawyer on your side.
Being injured in a car accident is difficult enough, but when that accident is caused by the neglect of another driver, it is even more tragic. Someone else decided to be reckless and got behind the wheel while under the influence, and you had to pay. If you have been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, let the skilled and experienced attorneys at Martin & Helms help you. Our team is dedicated to fighting for you and securing you the compensation that you deserve. Let us take care of the complicated legal work while you focus on healing. Call us at 256-539-1990 or use our contact page to schedule a free consultation today. We have offices located in Huntsville and Decatur, and serve clients in Madison, Athens, and North Alabama.