Articles Posted in DUI Accidents & Dram Shop

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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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Safe Driving on New Year’s Eve

Few holidays are more universally celebrated than New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, the holiday sees a dramatic uptick in the number of accidents, especially those involving alcohol and speeding. According to some estimates, Americans are much more likely to drink over New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that an average of 300 people die nationally between the week of Christmas and New Year.  That makes the streets of Georgia especially dangerous to be on this time of year.

Celebrating responsibly should be a no-brainer, but far too many people ignore basic safety precautions, and end up causing injuries not just to themselves, but also to other motorists on the road. This New Year’s eve, take steps to avoid becoming just another drunk driving accident statistic.

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The upcoming holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for emergency rooms throughout the country and in Atlanta.  Injuries and accidents are more common during this time, and there are a number of reasons people find themselves having to go for treatment at an overcrowded ER from food poisoning and alcohol related accidents to kitchen and fire accidents.

Here are some ways you can help reduce your chances of requiring a visit to the ER this holiday season.

While indulging in your Thanksgiving feast, take steps to avoid being exposed to food poisoning. Be sure not to consume undercooked or expired food, and always be aware of any food recall notices

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As you’re making plans to ring in the New Year, make sure you are not unwittingly breaking Georgia laws if you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year.

While you want your guests to enjoy your event, if you are planning on serving alcohol, you should be aware of the fact that you could be held accountable for your guests’ actions after they have had a few drinks at your party. That accountability is outlined under Georgia’s dram shop and social host liability laws.

Under Georgia law, a social host, or a person who hosts an event or a party, may be held liable for any injuries caused by persons who have consumed alcohol served by the host. In other words, you could be held accountable for serving alcohol to a person who leaves your event and causes an accident that results in injuries.

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There are a number of parties that can be held accountable in any drunk driving accident. But did you know that there are some parties that may not seem directly involved in the accident, but can still be held liable in a civil claim?

One of the most obvious parties that can be held liable in a drunk driving accident claim is the intoxicated driver.  However, victims may also hold liable the commercial establishment that served or sold the alcohol before the accident.  These claims are filed under Georgia’s dram shop statute, which allows commercial drinking establishments such as pubs, restaurants, clubs, or liquor stores, to be held accountable in those cases in which drivers drank alcohol sold by the establishment just before an accident.

If the commercial establishment willfully and knowingly serves or sells alcohol to a person below the age of 21, they can be held liable.  The establishment can also be held liable if they knowingly serve alcohol to a person who is noticeably intoxicated, and he or she then drives and causes an accident. The establishment, however, must also be aware that the customer will soon be operating a motor vehicle at the time of serving or selling of the alcohol.  This is an important element to proving your claim.

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Many accidents that are caused when a vehicle veers out of its lane and hits another car are believed to be the result of motorists being sleep deprived, driving under the influence alcohol or drugs, or suffering a serious medical condition. A new study confirms this.

According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, incapacitation was the key factor in approximately 34% of lane-drift accidents studied as part of the research. Incapacitation here refers to a motorist dozing off while sleeping, blacking out in a medical emergency, or passing out under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The research focused on approximately 630 lane-drift accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2007, and found that in approximately 17% of the accidents, the driver fell asleep at the wheel just before the accident. In another 17% of the crashes, the driver either blacked out at the wheel due to drug or alcohol use, or suffered a medical emergency like diabetic shock, seizure or heart attack.

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In addition to the at-fault driver, it is possible to hold other people or entities responsible for injuries caused in a drunk driving accident.  Under Georgia’s dram shop laws, sellers and servers of alcohol can be sued for monetary compensation if they have acted negligently.

Dram shop liability refers to the exposure commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, liquor stores, hotels, or clubs have related to the sale of alcohol to customers. Georgia’s dram shop laws make a commercial drinking establishment like a pub or club liable for damages if the establishment serves alcohol to minors under the age of 21. The laws also allow an alcohol provider to be held liable when an establishment serves alcohol to a person who is noticeably intoxicated and is likely to drive a car after.

It is important to understand that an experienced dram shop attorney often makes all the difference in these complex cases.  For example, the dram shop laws in Georgia do require that commercial establishment employees be aware that an intoxicated person intends to operate a motor vehicle after drinking. That makes it more challenging for drunk driving accident victims and their families to hold a commercial establishment legally liable for damages.  Staff members frequently claim that they had no way of knowing how the intoxicated person would travel after leaving the drinking hole.

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Ignition interlock devices that prevent drivers who have alcohol in their systems from operating a motor vehicle can help reduce the rate of traffic accident fatalities by as much as 15%.

Those are the results of a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study used crash data from 18 states that currently have laws requiring ignition interlock devices for all motorists convicted of DUI. The researchers found a 15% cut in the rate of traffic accident fatalities in states that require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of driving while impaired.

In states that had these universal laws, 915 lives were saved in accidents during the study period from 2007 to 2013.  Other studies have also indicated that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws reduce the likelihood that a previous offender will be arrested for drunk driving.

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