Articles Posted in DUI Accidents & Dram Shop

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Drunk driving accidents can result in serious, if not fatal, injuries and have devastating consequences on all those involved. When states lower the maximum blood alcohol concentration level that a motorist can be driving with in his system, it can lead to an overall reduction in the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, and consequently, the number of car crashes involving such intoxicated drivers.

In Georgia, as with most other states in the country, the maximum blood alcohol concentration limit for motorists is .08 %.  If a motorist is driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08%, he can be arrested for driving under the influence. Some states have been experimenting with lower blood alcohol concentration limits in an effort to understand whether this can further help reduce the incidence of intoxicated driving. Early results of those experiments are now out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifically focused on a single state that happens to be the only state in the United States that has successfully experimented with lower blood alcohol concentration levels.

Utah happens to be the only state in the country that has a blood alcohol concentration limit of .05 %. In 2019, that state lowered the blood alcohol concentration limit to.05 % from the previous .08%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its estimate found that as a result, the number of fatal accidents dropped by 19.8% in that state.  There was a significant drop of 18.3% in the fatality rate. In 2019, the state recorded 225 fatal accidents in spite of an increase in the vehicle miles travelled compared to the previous year. That was a drop from the 259 fatal accidents that had been recorded in 2016.

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Driving under the influence of alcohol on its own is dangerous enough, but when a person drives under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, there is an even more dangerous impact on his ability to drive safely. A new analysis of previous studies that have focused on the effect of a combination of alcohol and drugs on a person’s ability to drive safely underscores what safety advocates have always known –  that drugs combined with alcohol is a potent auto accident risk.

The analysis of more than 57 previous studies was published recently in the journal Addiction.  The researchers were specifically looking at studies that proved a link between a combination of alcohol and drugs on traffic safety.

According to the analysis, the combination of drugs and alcohol has a much more severe and detrimental  impact on a person’s ability to drive safely, compared to the influence of only alcohol or only drugs. What is interesting is that the review underscores the different kinds of impact that alcohol and drugs can have on a person’s ability to drive safely. Alcohol, for instance, encourages impulsive and rash driving behaviors like speeding, that  significantly increase the risk of being involved in an accident. Drugs, however, do not encourage speeding. In fact, persons driving under the influence of drugs may actually drive slowly, but that does not mean that they are driving safely. Dangerous driving behaviors  like veering from the lane are very common when a person is driving under the influence of drugs.

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It is well known that alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and reflexive abilities which is why someone who has been drinking should not be behind a wheel.  However, most motorists underestimate exactly how drunk they are and almost always mistakenly believe that they are fit to drive. Not surprisingly, a new study finds that self-monitoring and self-evaluation of drunkenness may not help prevent accidents involving drunk motorists.

The study was conducted in Germany which has a legal blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.05. The researchers found in their study that more than 50% of the participants believed that they were fit to drive even though they had a blood alcohol concentration limit that was higher than the maximum legal limit. There were ninety participants in the study, and the average age of the participants was 24. As part of the study, the participants were made to drink alcoholic beverages until their blood alcohol concentration level reached 0.11% or more than twice the legal limit in that country. The study was conducted over a period of two days.

The researchers found that as many as 39% of the participants believed that they had just reached the intoxication limit when they had crossed the limit. On the second day, 53% of the participants believed that they had just reached the legal limit when they had actually surpassed it. This shows that individual ability to determine drunkenness cannot be taken as a confirmation of a person’s ability to drive safely. Self evaluation of driving ability can be extremely prejudiced, and drivers can be prone to making errors in determining their own ability to drive safely.

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Drivers who have a history of rash or negligent driving practices are very likely to continue indulging in these practices in the future, increasing their risks of an accident.

According to researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, past driver behavior is a very good indicator of future accident risk. In other words, drivers who have a history of poor driving, including speeding, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs and distracted driving are very likely to continue to engage in these practices. According to the researchers, this is the reason why we saw increased traffic accident fatalities in 2020 in spite of a reduction in traffic volumes. Even with lower volumes of traffic, Atlanta roads saw a higher number of traffic accident fatalities last year, with distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving pushing those numbers upward.

Past behavior is a reliable indicator of future driving. For example, a motorist who has a history of driving at high speeds will continue to be at risk of speeding. If anything, the behavior of such drivers is only exacerbated when the roads are less congested. In 2020, the streets saw lower traffic crash traffic volumes, but the empty streets only encouraged drivers who were already very prone to speeding to drive at very high speeds.

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According to a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of wrong-way driving accidents in the U.S. increased by almost 35% in recent years.  Most wrong way driving accidents are the result of drunk driving, but they can also be caused by mistakes by older drivers or drowsy drivers.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently issued a list of guidelines for state transportation agencies to prevent these kinds of accidents.

Wrong-way driving accidents are some of the most devastating accidents  that occur on Atlanta roads.   These accidents typically involve head-on collisions that occur at high speeds that result in fatalities. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a primary cause of wrong-way driving accidents.  Drunk driving – specifically, driving while excessively intoxicated – is strongly linked to wrong-way driving. Excessive alcohol intoxication or a blood alcohol concentration level that is between 0.8 and .15%, or close to double the legally permitted blood alcohol concentration level in Georgia, is often linked to these devastating driving errors.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety advises that state transportation agencies increase their implementation of DUI checkpoints or sobriety checkpoints.  The Foundation also advises states like Georgia to strengthen laws requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of motorists who are convicted of drunk driving.  An ignition interlock device determines the level of intoxication of the motorist, and activates to prevent the motorist from starting the car if those intoxication levels are above a pre-set limit.  Many states, including Georgia, require the installation of ignition interlock devices in the cars of motorists who are convicted of repeat DUI offenses. Several safety advocates have called for the application of these laws to all drunk driving offenders, even first – time offenders. A stringent application of the law would significantly reduce the number of intoxicated motorists on our streets.

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With students across Georgia gearing up to have fun over spring break, it’s important for parents and colleges to understand the very high incidence of binge drinking during this season, and the resultant elevated risks of being involved in drunk driving accidents.

Binge drinking is a contributor to several drunk driving accidents every year.  Binge drinking is the consumption of too many alcoholic beverages in too short a period of time. This is quick and excessive drinking, and the number of drinks consumed can range from 4 drinks during a 2-hour span in the case of a woman, to 5 drinks or more in the same period of time in the case of a man. High intensity drinking, the incidence of which is also very high among college students during spring break, is the consumption of double this amount or more. The chances of blood alcohol levels rising very quickly with such speedy drinking are extremely high.

During a typical drinking session, a person might eat or pace his drinking, slowing down the absorption of alcohol in the blood. However, when young adults binge drink, that same kind of pacing does not happen. The result is a quicker absorption of alcohol into the blood stream and faster intoxication.  Couple this excessive drinking with the kind of reckless and uninhibited behaviour that typically occurs when young adults are with friends of the same age, and you have a potent situation with a high risk of a drunk driving accident. Several studies show that teenagers and young adults are at a much higher risk for binge drinking, compared to older, mature adults.

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Vehicles that have in-car alcohol detection systems that prevent motorists from driving a car under the influence of alcohol could significantly help reduce the number of accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers every year.

These results came from a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study was undertaken to determine how technology could help reduce the risks of motorists drinking and driving. Such motorists cause a significant number of auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia every year.

In fact, nationwide, approximately 30% of traffic accident deaths annually are the result of drunk driving. Every year, as many as a million people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

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Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of an excess amount of alcohol.  A person who engages in binge drinking can suffer from a number of consequences, including not surprisingly, drunk driving accidents. A new study has found that binge drinking among Americans has fallen sharply in terms of frequency. Despite the drop in frequency, however, when people do decide to binge drink they are consuming more drinks than ever before.

According to the research, the frequency at which Americans drink excessively has fallen. The research by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 2011 and 2017, the number of Americans admitting that they drank excessively during a single session fell from 18.9 percent to 18 percent. However, when it came to the number of drinks consumed at a binge session, there was a sharp increase. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of drinks annually consumed by adults who reported drinking excessively during a single session jumped significantly from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017.  So, while the number of times that Americans drink excessively has dropped, the intensity of these sessions has increased sharply.

Interestingly enough, the increase in the number of drinks consumed in a single session increased the highest in the 35 and over age group.  While it is commonly believed that younger Americans, especially college students, are the age group that binge drinks the most, that doesn’t seem to be the case. If anything, younger college-aged Americans are actually consuming less alcohol during a single binge. The number of drinks consumed annually by college students who admitted to binge drinking, fell from 619 drinks a year in 2011 to 545 by 2017.  Some statistics have remained the same however, over the years.  Males are still much likelier to report binge drinking, compared to females.

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The Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, which means most people will make it a long holiday weekend from work.  The Fourth of July is not only one of the country’s most popular holiday weekends, but it’s also one of the most deadly. The holiday accounts for hundreds of deaths every year, and this year’s July Fourth is not expected to be any different.

The National Safety Council predicts that this Fourth of July weekend will be just as deadly as previous years, with an approximate 565 people expected to be killed in motor vehicle and other accidents. It also predicts around 64,000 injuries in accidents occurring over the holiday.

These predictions were made based on previous crash data. For instance in 2017, there were a total of 601 fatalities in traffic accidents over the holiday weekend. That was a significant 23 percent increase from the previous year. At least 39 percent of those accidents involved a drunk driver.

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The opioid overdose epidemic has been a top-priority for safety advocates as well as federal agencies for several years now. However, a little-known fact that has not garnered as much press is that opioid use has also contributed to an increase in the number of car accidents linked to drivers who were driving while under the influence of these painkillers.

A dependence on opioid medications or painkillers like Oxycontin has been blamed for a nationwide crisis that has raged unabated. In 2017 alone, 47,000 Americans died as the result of an opioid overdose. Deaths from opioid overdoses increased 14% nationwide in that year.  In Georgia, however, opioid deaths increased over 16% in 2017.  And to make it more a part of the daily conversation, social media has been awash with images and videos of addicts passed out or dead in their cars, sidewalks and commercial spaces.

Now, researchers at the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center say that there is ample evidence that opioid painkillers and drivers high under the influence of medications like Oxycontin are also causing an increasing number of car accidents. Their conclusions are based on results from a study that was conducted on 18,000 drivers involved in fatal accidents between 1993 and 2016. According to the researchers, the number of fatal car accidents involving drivers under the influence of opioid painkillers actually tripled over this 25-year period.

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