Some friends were eating and drinking at a popular nightspot at the beach one weekend evening. One of the guys had to work the next morning so he said goodbye, got into his car and started to leave the parking lot and pulled out onto the busy highway. As soon as he pulled out of the driveway, he ran right into another car that was coming into the parking lot and it turned out to be a minor fender bender with absolutely no injuries. Since it happened on a public street the manager of the restaurant, who saw the whole thing, called the cops.
When the police arrived both cars had been driven back in to the parking lot and the drivers were exchanging contact and insurance information. After talking with the drivers, the officer decided to give a field sobriety test to the driver who had been leaving the nightspot and another few minutes passed when suddenly the cop asked the man to turn around and he put handcuffs on him. He was arrested for drunk driving.
The man was surprised and completely embarrassed to have to walk to the police car with handcuffs on in front of all the customers entering and leaving the restaurant and those looking out the windows at him.. He was also pretty upset when he had to wait in the back of the squad car while the police officer filled out some paperwork and especially when he saw the tow truck back up to his car and start hooking it up to be towed. All in all, those would end up to be only a few of his problems involved in this seemingly insignificant event.
He did have a few drinks at the restaurant and he did drive with a high blood alcohol count and yes, he did hit another car even if no one was injured. However, he was discovering what a lot of people are now finding out about: the police and society in general have no mercy and zero tolerance for drunk drivers, no matter if anyone is hurt or not. The country has turned away from the attitude of “Oh, he only had one or two drinks and he didn’t hurt anybody.” That might have worked in the 1950s and 60s but things, everything changed in the 1980s when people just felt like they had had enough accidents and injuries and deaths caused by drunk and very out of control drivers.
The man who was arrested had his car towed away, spent two nights in jail until Monday when he saw a judge who yelled at him in open court and then told him what his bail was going to be. He got out of jail a few hours later only to find out that he had been fired from a company he had worked at for over ten years. Apparently, they too had a zero tolerance for drunk drivers. His wife was angry too over the drunk driving affair and the loss of half their income because of his firing.
As time went on, the man got another job, a lower paying one, and then he learned he had to pay a large fine for the drunk driving offense along with fees for classes on Drunk Driving and he had to do all of this while either riding a bike or taking a cab or a bus to work and to the classes because he couldn’t afford to get his car out of impound and the fact that he lost his license for six months.
The moral of that story is that driving after drinking can be very costly even though no one’s life was lost and there were no physical injuries. Most people think that that drunk driver got off easy. If someone had been hurt or killed in the accident that he had caused he could have lost even more: his freedom. He could have lost everything and we mean everything. He could have gone to prison for many, many years and he could have had all of his assets taken away from him in order to be sold to compensate the person who was injured or that person’s family. And depending on what state a death occurs as a result of drunk driving he could even have gotten life in prison.
Numbers speak for themselves
• In 2016, over 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for almost 30% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
• Of the over 1,200 traffic deaths among children under the age of 15 in 2016, over 200 involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
• In 2016, more than a million drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated. That’s about one percent of the over 110 million reported episodes of alcohol-related driving incidents among American adults each year.
• Drugs, not including alcohol, (legal and illegal) are involved in over 15% of vehicle accidents.
If you are in any vehicular accident you should contact a Personal Injury Attorney right away. He will be able to help you get the treatment you need and the compensation necessary to reimburse you for lost employment time and medical and other costs.
Statistically, approximately 29 people are killed every single day in this U.S. because of alcohol-related vehicle accidents. That is incredible! That means that drunk driving kills someone every 50 minutes. Even though there are a great deal of injuries and deaths due to drunk drivers, fatalities have declined by almost a third over the last thirty years but the costs of deaths and damages is nonetheless incredibly enormous: $44 Billion. That’s right, Billion with a “B.”
How Does Alcohol Affect Us Anyway?
The ingestion of alcohol has a wide range of negative effects on the body and the brain. It almost immediately impairs our muscle coordination and our ability to think clearly. It also fogs up our reasoning capability and stirs up or shall we say mushes up any real functionality in the thinking process itself. Some people call that fun while others call it dangerous and deadly, especially if you drive with any one of those impairments, let alone all of them.
Alcohol, even in the smallest quantities, can cause the above effects in human beings. It probably does the same thing in dogs and other animals but they don’t drive so we don’t have to worry too much about them. Alcohol levels are measured in Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC and it is the alcohol weight within a specific amount of blood. Bottom line is that a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood or higher greatly maximizes your chances of losing control of yourself and your car resulting in the crashing of your car. If you drive a vehicle and your BAC is .08 or higher, you are breaking the law and if caught, you will be arrested and you will go to jail. That’s the law in all 50 states including Washington DC.
However, as we said earlier, even small amounts of alcohol can produce negative results and devastating and deadly car accidents. Now you know. If you are the victim in a car crash and the offender has even a small amount of alcohol in his or her body, your Personal Injury Attorney can still be quite successful in suing that individual and his or her insurance company for you. The courts, as we mentioned, have no mercy for anyone who drinks and drives, no matter how much or how little alcohol the driver has consumed.
The worst Drunk Driving countries
Some of the worst countries for Drunk Driving may surprise you. The United States came in third just behind Canada and South Africa. Now, there is a surprise. Who would have ever thought Canada would even be considered the worst anything? Of course, maybe they look at it from the opposite point of view. That is, they are number two, just behind South Africa. We’ll let them deal with their place in the world’s worst drunk driving countries. The criteria for being considered one of the worst drunk driving countries was the percentage of road accident deaths involving alcohol. South Africa apparently wasn’t too surprised even though people in other countries might have never guessed that South Africa was such a heavy drinking nation. South Africa had 58% of its road accident deaths blamed on alcohol and Canada had 34%. That’s actually quite a percentage spread between the two nations. The U.S. had 31% and last but not least was China which had only 4%. The United Kingdom and Germany, which have reputations for heavy drinking were also toward the bottom with 16 and 9% alcohol related traffic deaths respectively.
Some accidents are worse than others
The fender bender we mentioned earlier was mild in comparison to what some accidents can produce in property damage and human injury.
Two 18 year-old girls, who had been best friends all their lives, lived to party and dance and drink. Their first stop that fateful night began at a nightclub. They stayed for a while and had drinks and then they left in one of the girl’s car. They drove down to another nightspot and danced and drank and then they switched to harder liquor and started tilting back shots. It was 3 am when they finally left the place and they started the 40-minute drive home.
When they were only a mile from home and safety the car went off the highway and down a hill and then crashed head on into a huge tree. The driver woke up and could see right away that something was wrong and the car was on the side of the road. She didn’t know where she was or whom she had been driving with, she couldn’t remember a thing about the night before – about a few hours before. When she turned toward the passenger seat she saw that someone was sitting there with her head turned away. She touched her arm and then gently moved it and slowly realized that the girl, whoever she was, was dead.
Paramedics came and had to free her from the car using the jaws of life. She was in horrible pain and was screaming as they pulled her out and raced her to the hospital. A few minutes after the driver was driven away in the ambulance, the Assistant State Attorney General came to the accident, which the police considered a crime scene. There was a death and drunk driving was strongly suspected to be involved. The Assistant Attorney General later said that, his heart just dropped because that was the first dead body he ever saw. He thought that she was young, she had a family somewhere and they didn’t know what had just happened. He also said that seeing the devastation was an image that would be hard to get rid of.
When the driver reached the hospital she was rushed into the emergency room where she was immediately hooked up to some machines. One of her ears was almost all the way off and it was just hanging from her head. She also had a deep gash across the side of her head. They prepared her to go into surgery and that’s when she heard the police talking to her mother about her passenger’s purse. That’s when she realized for the first time that it was her best friend who was dead in the passenger seat. She started screaming as loud as she could in a panic that she wished it could have been her that died and not her best friend. She also yelled that she had killed her best friend!!
The driver needed over 400 stitches to put her head, ear and face back together. Her BAC level turned out to be one and a half times the legal limit, which showed that the crash was most likely caused by drunk driving – on her part.
The passenger’s parents had already lost one child as a baby, and now a second child died unnecessarily as a teenager with her whole life ahead of her. The two families don’t talk anymore even though they were all friends before the tragic accident. The driver’s family was told not to come to the funeral and their letters and notes went unanswered. The Assistant State Attorney General said that they were a mess and their anger will probably continue for years.
The driver was arrested a month after the accident and charged with DUI manslaughter. After entering a plea at her arraignment she was taken to jail, strip searched and shackled and stayed locked up until her parents posted bail.
The prosecution said they wanted her to get at least 10 to 15 years in prison for the death of her best friend. The driver’s trial lasted almost three years due to delays and court motions. The words “Maximum Security Inmate” were stenciled on her prison uniform, which reminded her every day that she might truly be facing many years in state prison. After going to court for so long, she finally needed some closure and told the judge that she was ready. They made a deal that stipulated if she pleaded guilty she would only have to serve 4 years instead of the 10 to 15 year sentence she might get if a jury convicted her. She felt relieved and took the deal.
After serving her sentence she devoted her life to being a public speaker to tell other teens her story and how it tragically changed the lives of her, her family and her best friend and her family.
Alexis McKinney was just about to turn 16 and she was totally excited about it. So many things were happening at that time in her life: a new job, getting a driver’s license, celebrating her birthday with family and friends and she looked forward to driving the present that her father had just bought for her: a Jeep.
A week before her birthday, Alexis and her sister went out on a date with two brothers in the boys’ car. The girls were told by their mother to be home at 11pm and when 11:30 rolled around with not so much as even a phone call the mother began to get worried. She drove to the boys’ mom’s house and none of the kids had gotten back yet. While she was there the boys’ mom got a call telling her that one of her sons had been in a car accident and was being taken to the hospital. The girls weren’t even mentioned in the phone call.
Alexis’ mother called the police several times and it was the last call that the police asked her where she was and if she could meet them at a mall that was close by. When she met with the police she asked them to tell her where Alexis was and they then told her that Alexis had been thrown from the car that was driven by a 17 year-old boy who had drugs and alcohol in his system. Alexis, the mother was told, had dies instantly.
So, instead of having a birthday party for Alexis they had a funeral. Alexis’ mother remembered talking to her only a week before about not getting into a car if the driver was drinking or doing drugs. She told Alexis that she should just call her mother to pick her up and that she would always be there for her when she needed her.
One night, a drunk driver pulled out of a bar parking lot onto a highway with his lights off. Since his BAC was .27 he probably never saw the other car before he ran into it. A thirteen year-old boy and his two sisters and their mother were in the car and the boy ended up with massive internal injuries. He was awake when the paramedics got to him and he had just enough strength to tell his mom and his sisters that he loved them.
His dad, a police officer, was home asleep when other police offers came to his house to tell him that everyone was okay but they were in an accident. While he was getting ready to go to the hospital he got a call from another relative telling him that his son didn’t make it. He still went to the hospital and looked at his dead son for the last time. That crash changed all of their lives. It threw a dark cloud over the family that is hard to remove because it’s so difficult to forget that part of your souls was also killed that night. The drunk driver, whose blood alcohol was .27, received a 15 year prison sentence with an extra 3 years and 15 years supervised probation after his release. It was discovered that this DUI was not his first offense.
Drunk drivers can ruin a lot of lives in only a few seconds. Had they taken a cab home instead of insisting on driving themselves they could have prevented a great deal of unnecessary grief, sorrow and pain. Teenagers naturally feel invincible and rarely think they need to take the advice from older people regarding driving after they’ve been drinking. Maybe they simple don’t realize how much the alcohol has affected them or they can’t admit that they are under the influence and can’t drive. A lot of behavior is caused by people’s sense of self, that is, who they think they are. If they think that their friends will laugh at them or think less of them because they are bing smart and taking a cab home, then they should re-think who they are.
Teenagers experiment with new things and alcohol is a new thing in their life during the teen years. What is the solution to drunk driving? That’s a good question. Some of the signs on the freeway are pretty effective: “If you drive hammered – You’ll get nailed.” Perhaps the threat of jail time does work for a lot of teens and maybe for a great deal of adults. Drunk drivers should also fear Personal Injury Attorneys because when they take a case of someone who was injured by a drunk driver, they take it to win. Drunk drivers beware!
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