Despite all the efforts that have been made over the past few decades to put a stop to drunk driving, drunk driving accidents are still far too common.
According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 traffic deaths in the United States involve drunk drivers and that in the state of California, 10,327 people were killed in drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2012. The IIHS estimates that over 7,400 lives could have been saved in 2017 if all drivers on the road had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under the legal limit.
In many cases, drunk drivers get behind the wheel even though they know how dangerous it is. In fact, many people drive drunk multiple times before they even get caught once. And being caught doesn’t even necessarily prevent it from happening again. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, about 31.4% of drivers in fatal California drunk driving accidents involving repeat offenders had a BAC between 0.08% and 0.14% and 69.6% of them had a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
California drunk driving laws
In the state of California, the legal BAC is 0.08%, but there are cases when the legal BAC can be even lower. If a driver is under the age of 21, having any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal. For drivers who are operating commercial vehicles, the legal BAC is 0.04%.
Who can be liable for California drunk driving accidents?
Generally speaking, drunk drivers are legally liable for their own actions, but there are some cases when other people might also be liable. California law limits the legal liability of party hosts and establishments that serve alcohol, such as bars and restaurants, in cases when a person gets into a car accident after drinking too much at their party/place of business. However, there are exceptions. If a party host or bartender knowingly serves alcohol to a person under the age of 21 and they get into a car accident while driving drunk afterward, the party host or bar/restaurant could be legally liable. They could also be liable if they serve alcohol to a person under the age of 21 who is already noticeably intoxicated at the time of being served.
DUI accidents & drugged drivers
When people hear the term “DUI,” they often think it only applies to driving under the influence of alcohol. In reality, DUIs can also involve drivers under the influence of many other types of substances, including marijuana, prescription medication, illegal drugs, or a combination of any of those substances.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 19% of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 who were tested for legal/illegal drugs had a positive result. With recreational marijuana now being legal in the state of California, the more likely it is to encounter a drugged driver on the road.
Driving under the influence of drugs is every bit as illegal as driving under the influence of alcohol. However, drugged driving isn’t as easy to test for as drunk driving. Since different types of substances can affect people differently, there isn’t a firm legal limit on what is officially considered “too high to drive.” Roadside testing for drug impairment also isn’t as simple as it is for drunk drivers. Because of these difficulties, it’s particularly important to contact a DUI accident attorney about your case.
Common injuries in drunk driving accidents
Damages in a drunk driving accident claim
If you’re interested in making a claim for damages in a drunk driving accident, some types of damages you can collect include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- In-home care
Contact a Los Angeles drunk driving accident attorney
The tragic reality is that 100% of drunk driving and drugged driving accidents could have been prevented. Dealing with the aftermath of a DUI accident is stressful enough. One of the best things you can do is get the help of an experienced drunk driving attorney who is ready to fight for you. At The Wallace Firm, we’re here to fight for the rights of victims of drunk drivers, not help drunk drivers get back on the road. Our drunk driving and DUI accident attorneys know the law and are ready to help you get the compensation you need. Contact us today for help with your claim.