Drunk Driving Is Still A Major Problem In Florida
Driving while intoxicated wasn’t always treated as seriously as it is today. DWI and DUI laws have been around for over 100 years, but for most of that time the penalties were light and the police would only pull you over if you were obviously driving dangerously. The number of collisions and fatalities involving intoxicated drivers was high even then, but the statistics weren’t widely known or explained to the public.
That started to change in the 1970s. Cars were getting faster and safety was becoming a bigger concern, with the first seat belts introduced in the 1950s but the first seat belt laws passing in the 1980s. It was at this time that studies began to come out about how dangerous drunk driving was, and so states passed harsher laws while police officers looked more closely for drivers under the influence.
Driving Is A Privilege
While many drivers become upset when confronted with sobriety tests and breathalyzers, it’s important to remember at times like this that driving is a privilege and not a right. While you have the right to go anywhere you want throughout the country, you don’t have the right to drive there.
Driving means operating a heavy machine at dangerous speeds using a complicated set of controls that can take both arms and both legs working together to operate. Having a driver’s license means that you passed written and practical tests that prove you know all the rules and symbols of the road, and so the state gives you permission to operate a motor vehicle on those roads. The fact that it’s a license and not a right is why holding a license is “implied consent” in Florida and you have to let them test whether you’re okay to drive.
Victims Deserve Compensation
Between 2014 and 2016, the average number of auto crashes per year in Florida was about 371,000, and the number of traffic fatalities was 2,657. That’s around one death per 140 crashes. In the same period, the average number of crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or both was about 6,400 and resulted in 1,013 fatalities. Not only does this account for over a third of all fatalities, it also means the chance of death when drinking is involved goes up to one in six crashes.
There’s a good chance that many minor crashes involve unreported alcohol use, but even so that is a tremendous difference in the odds. If a loved one dies in an auto accident or experiences a serious injury, the odds are very high that at least one of the drivers involved was over the legal limit at the time.
When one driver or another is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can complicate your attempts to get compensation. The fact that injuries are more likely to be worse is one issue, and so is the criminal trial that adds time to the insurance claim process even if the case is open and shut. Then there’s the fact that not every drunk driver is at fault for an accident: while you have to accept any punishment you get for driving while intoxicated, you still deserve compensation from the responsible driver.
If you live in southwest Florida and you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident with a drunk driver, you should contact the offices of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh. We’re personal injury lawyers who represent injured parties and help them get the compensation they deserve after auto accidents, premises accidents, workplace injuries, and other aspects of personal injury law. Even if we have to take your case to open court, we’ll do everything we can to get you a fair settlement.