The Labor Day weekend is a time to honor the nation’s workers. It’s also unfortunately for some an excuse to drink and drive in Florida.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that during the 2013 Labor Day holiday, which runs the course of the long weekend, almost half of those ages 18 to 34 killed in traffic accidents were in crashes that involved a drunk driver. Further, just in 2013, more than 200 children younger 14 in the U.S. died in drunk driving crashes over the long weekend. Even drunk drivers themselves aren’t safe. Between 2009 and 2013, more than 500 drunk drivers were killed during labor day weekend.
In response to this dire issue, many law enforcement agencies throughout Florida – and the country – are initiating public awareness campaigns as well as increased DUI enforcement effort. The goal is to drive down the number of drunk driving deaths during the Labor Day holiday.
In many areas, this will also mean the initiation of sobriety checkpoints and overtime patrols.
One of those campaigns, which is often implemented during holiday weekends, is called “Drive Sober, Get Pulled Over,” which is sponsored by the NHTSA. The initiative spreads the word that every year, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of drunk driving.
The NHTSA reports that in Florida in 2013, more than 675 people were killed in DUI accidents. Of those, 480 – or 71 percent – involved a driver who had a blood alcohol of 0.15 or higher, which is nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Even those who weren’t technically over the limit may have driving impaired, considering drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of between 0.01 and 0.07 were involved in 115 traffic fatalities. Alcohol negatively affects one’s judgment, vision and reaction time – all of which are critical skills necessary for driving.
It’s worth noting that Florida DUI law, codified in F.S. 316.193, allows for a person to face criminal charges for driving under the influence even if his or her blood-alcohol level does not meet the legal threshold of 0.08. What is necessary to prove this charges is that one is under the influence to the extent it impairs his or her normal faculties.
Although criminal cases are separate from the civil cases brought by victims of drunk drivers, evidence of impairment gleaned during the criminal investigation can help bolster the civil case and give plaintiffs the opportunity to seek punitive damages on top of compensatory damages. Further, judgments against persons for injury caused by drunk driving cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy the way other civil judgments may be. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced DUI injury lawyer on your side, helping to gather additional evidence that may help your case.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
DUI checkpoint tonight in Plantation, Sept. 4, 2015, By Lisa J. Huriash, The Sun-Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Father of Teen Killed in DUI Crash Sues Girl’s Friends, Parents, Aug. 30, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog