At about 2:30 a.m. of April 22, 2015, a 19-year old female driver in a Toyota Prius collided head-on with a pickup truck along Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento. The female driver was on the fast lane of Highway 50, going eastbound in the westbound lane during the time of the crash, which killed her and the three passengers of the pickup truck. Prior to the collision, the young driver was said to have been driving in the wrong direction, swerving around other vehicles for several miles. Weeks of further investigation revealed that the female driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20% at the time of the fatal crash.
Drunk driving is a major traffic offense in all US states. Alcohol, as it has always been proven, impairs a person’s motor skills and mental capacity, as well as affects his/her coordination, reaction time, judgment, perception, and overall capability to keep his/her focus on the road. Lack or loss of control over any of these skills can easily result in a crash that may injure or kill not only the drunk driver himself/herself, but also his/her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. It is due to the increased risk of harm that may befall innocent lives which makes drunk driving a major offense.
Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08 percent, studies have shown that even at 0.02 percent BAC level, a person’s driving ability and response time can already be affected. The possibility of figuring in a crash increases after 0.05 percent BAC, becoming even higher after 0.08 percent; thus, under all state laws, an individual is considered alcohol-impaired if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher and, if caught, will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI). However, to further reduce the risks brought about by drunk-driving, some states authorize traffic enforcers to charge a driver with impaired driving or DUI even if such driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is below 0.08 percent, so long as the arresting officer sees that the driver’s abilities are impaired.
In 2013, there were 1,171,935 DUI arrests in the US including in the District of Columbia. In 2010, based on records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million. With these staggering figures some traffic authorities are even thankful that the number of fatal accidents (due to alcohol and/or illegal drugs impairment) does not go beyond 10,500 every year). Well, thanks to stricter laws, the zeal in enforcing these laws, the harsher penalties, and to the efforts of private groups, like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, such as the Zero Tolerance law (which prohibits drivers below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol) and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law (which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.
Traffic authorities, however, know that despite all the efforts from government and private groups, people will continue to get behind the wheel of their vehicles even if intoxicated. Thus, the justice system will hold them liable for any damage they get to inflict on those that they injure or kill simply because drinking and driving is an irresponsible act that they willingly choose to do. An Indianapolis drunk driving accident lawyer might add that aside from the criminal charge and penalties, offenders often also face monetary liabilities or compensation which they will legally have to pay victims of their irresponsible behavior.
The families of those who were killed on the dawn of April 22, 2015, referred to the death of their loved ones as “senseless killing.” Though they know that the tragic event can no longer be undone, they are hopeful that they will receive the compensation that they legally deserve, and at the same time send a message to others not to make the same senseless and cruel act.