Drinking and driving is a constant problem on the roadways of America. Unfortunately, many drivers are even more tempted to drive under the influence during the holidays. Parties, dinners, toasts, and other festive events provide ample opportunities to drink throughout the holiday season. It is important for victims of DUI accidents to seek legal advice as soon as possible after any accident. A West Palm Beach auto accident attorney can advise injury victims on the best methods of obtaining compensation from a drunk driver.
The Statistics on Holiday DUIs
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on the increase in drunk driving over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Between 2001 and 2005, about 40 percent of all traffic fatalities over these periods involved one or more drunk drivers. During other times in December, only 28 percent of fatal traffic accidents involved a drunk driver. The number of fatalities occurring over these holidays were also higher than other days in December. While the average number of impaired traffic fatalities per day across America in December was 33, this number increased to 45 on Christmas, and even further to 54 on New Year's.
Road users in Florida are affected by drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 8,476 people were killed by drunk drivers in Florida between 2003 and 2012. In 2012, drunk driving deaths occurred at a rate of 1.7 women and 5.7 men per 100,000 Florida residents. Even more concerning, 2.1 percent of Florida survey respondents admitted that they had driven while drunk in the past 30 days.
What Florida Injury Victims Can Do to Hold Drunk Drivers Responsible
In order to reduce drunk driving on the roads of Florida, it is important to hold drunk drivers accountable for their reckless and dangerous actions. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors can press criminal charges. The fines, fees, community service, substance abuse courses, license suspension, and other consequences are all deterrents designed to prevent future drunk driving. But what can accident victims do to hold drunk drivers accountable?
In addition to the criminal justice system, the civil courts can also provide relief to DUI accident victims. By filing a claim with the drunk driver's insurance company, or filing a civil lawsuit against the driver, an injury victim is providing further financial consequences with a deterrent effect. In order to obtain a civil judgment against a driver, the plaintiff must prove that the driver was negligent. Evidence of violation of Florida's DUI laws makes a strong case that the drunk driver was negligent. Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes provides criminal penalties for driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in Section 877.111 or any substance controlled under Chapter 893.
Contact a West Palm Beach auto accident attorney as soon as possible after any holiday traffic accident caused by drunk driving. With skilled legal advice, victims are better able to access the compensation to which the law entitles them. Drunk drivers must also be held accountable for their dangerous actions in order to prevent drunk driving on the roads of Florida.