Archive for the ‘Drunk Driving’ Category

Palm Beach DUI Risks Remain Top Concern in 2014

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is continuing efforts in 2014 to encourage lawmakers to adopt regulations that could reduce drunk driving incidents. Florida has adopted the majority of the recommended laws but MADD’s 2014 Report to the Nation indicates that the state could do more. 

Drunk driving fatalities represented 29 percent of total traffic deaths in Florida in 2012, with 697 people losing their lives in collisions involving alcohol. This was a .4 percent increase from the prior year. Family members of victims who are killed have legal rights, as do victims hurt in a collision with an intoxicated motorist. A drunk driving attorney in West Palm Beach can help victims of drunk driving collisions. Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A.,  today to schedule your free consultation.

Florida Can Take Steps to Combat Drunk Driving

Florida takes a tough stance on drunk driving and many regulations aim to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. For example, Florida allows for sobriety checkpoints and has a no refusal policy so drivers suspected of being impaired cannot decline to have their blood-alcohol content (BAC) tested without automatically losing their driver’s license. Child endangerment laws impose stricter penalties on drivers who are impaired with young people in the car and administrative license suspension (ALS) also occurs after a drunk driving arrest or refusal to submit to a BAC test.    Each of these laws has earned Florida a star for following MADD recommendations, giving the state four stars out of five.

Unfortunately, despite its tough laws, there are still hundreds of drunk drivers on the streets in Florida annually. MADD reports that:

  • 12,016 people were hurt in alcohol-related crashes in Florida in 2012.
  • A total of 17,199 Florida crashes involving alcohol occurred in 2012.
  • There were 53,664 arrests and 28,689 convictions of intoxicated motorists in Florida over the course of 2012.
  • A total of 18,268 drivers refused to take a blood alcohol content test over the course of the same year.
  • There were 113,076 three-time offenders and 11,681 five-time offenders in the state of Florida.

It is not uncommon for impaired motorists to drive drunk repeatedly, even after they have been caught and arrested. Florida could thus significantly improve its safety efforts by making one simple change: requiring ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for every offender convicted of driving drunk.

Lawmakers passed a law in 2008 that required the use of ignition interlock devices for first time offenders if they had a BAC above .15, but motorists convicted who were just over the .08 legal limit do not have to have one of these devices installed when they resume driving.   Drunk driving could be significantly reduced if all offenders had to use an IID, since there were more than 20,000 repeat DUI offenders arrested in Florida in 2010 who were driving on a suspended license.

Drunk driving not only has a devastating cost for victims, but it also has a huge financial cost as well.  The comprehensive economic cost of a drunk driving death is $5.2 million.  Florida lawmakers could save money and lives by following MADD’s recommendations and imposing an IID requirement for all convicted drunk driving offenders.

A drunk driving accident attorney in West Palm Beach can help accident victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., today at 800-608-2965 or visit www.gonzalezcartwright.com  to schedule a free consultation.

Archive for the ‘Drunk Driving’ Category

West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Prevention in Focus

Drunk driving remains a top cause of fatal accidents, with as many as 40 percent of deadly traffic collisions still involving intoxicated motorists. In Florida alone, the NHTSA reports that 697 people were killed in 2012 in crashes where alcohol was believed to have played a role. 

These troubling statistics show that much more needs to be done to try to make the roads safe and prevent these senseless tragedies. This helps to explain why as many as three out of every four Americans has strongly endorsed the imposition of tougher penalties against drunk drivers as a means of reducing intoxication behind the wheel.

Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Drunken Drivers

Drunk driving accident attorneys in West Palm Beach know that a great deal of progress was made throughout the 1980s and 1990s in reducing the risk of drunk driving, and many of the programs and policies put in place during this time remain in effect today and continue to deter people from driving while intoxicated. New policies continue to develop and new laws continue to pass to try to further reduce the dangers.

Recently, the National Safety Council (NSC) has summarized some of the steps that are being taken, that have been pursued or that may be options in the future as a means of reducing drunk driving. Some of the different strategies that the NSC highlights include the following:

  • Screening programs and brief interventions. Typically, employers will offer screening to identify high-risk individuals and will offer intervention to try to provide assistance. Employers may offer these services as a part of the health benefits afforded to employees. In some cases, employers opt for screening and intervention because they want to protect their companies from potential liability of a drunk employee. Regardless of an employer’s motivation, screening and brief intervention has been shown in more than 360 studies to be the most cost-effective way of reducing dangerous drinking behavior and assisting people in getting the help that they require.
  • DWI court and additional prosecutions. The NHTSA is placing a priority on improving the prosecution of drunk driving offenses so offenders are not able to escape the consequences of their actions. DWI courts are also being established in an effort to make sure cases are tried expediently and properly.
  • Ignition interlock devices: Around a third of the 1.5 million drivers arrested each year for drunk driving have already been convicted at least one time. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that ignition interlock devices be required for all drunk driving offenders. This could help reduce the rates of re-offense and keep more drunk drivers off the roads.
  • High-visibility enforcements. When the public is reminded of the criminal consequences of drunk driving and made aware that police will be out in full force enforcing the law, this reduces the risk of drunk driving. Sobriety checkpoints and public service campaigns about drunk driving consequences around high-risk holidays are effective ways of reducing impaired driving.

All of these programs have made the roads much safer, but people continue to die in drunk driving offenses. Motorists need to make a commitment to always drive sober. Those who are hurt by drunk drivers can take legal action.

Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. has offices in West Palm Beach. Call 800-608-2965 today to schedule a free consultation