Articles Posted in DUI Accidents & Dram Shop

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A new study finds that a significantly high number of people who consume alcohol and drugs go ahead and operate a motor vehicle after doing the same, raising their risks of being involved in an auto accident.

According to the study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as many as two-thirds of persons who consumed alcohol and imbibed marijuana also  admitted to driving within 2 hours after the fact. The results of the study are disturbing because each of these behaviors is dangerous on its own.  Your risk of being involved in a car accident increases substantially even if you are only under the influence of alcohol or only under the influence of drugs.  A  combination of the two, however, would be lethal behind the wheel.

As many as 7 out of 10 drivers in the study admitted to driving after consuming alcohol.  Only  about one in 10 drivers admitted to driving after having ingested both alcohol and drugs.  However,  among these, 33% admitted to operating a motor vehicle within 2 hours after ingesting alcohol and marijuana.

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Even as federal transportation authorities grapple with a spike in deaths in all types of car accidents, a new study finds that high visibility traffic enforcement campaigns may possibly hold the key to reducing those numbers and keeping motorists safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently revealed that auto accident death numbers are on the rise.  Those numbers were extremely high in 2020, a year in which American motorists drove fewer vehicle miles than in previous years.  In 2021, according to projected estimates, those numbers were at their highest in more than a decade.   This increase has been high enough to spur federal transportation authorities into action. The new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief has announced his Roadway Safety Strategy, a plan that aims to combine efforts towards safer roads, vehicles and motorists to reduce car accident death numbers.

A new analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that high visibility traffic law enforcement campaigns like those that are frequently conducted to encourage motorists to buckle up or drive safely or at posted speeds may be effective in helping reduce car accident fatality numbers

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The federal administration spends millions of dollars in traffic safety campaigns every year.  An analysis of the effectiveness of these campaigns finds that unless these education campaigns are also combined with practical action, they may have a very limited impact on traffic safety or the number of car accidents which occur each year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s traffic safety campaigns  encourage motorists to drive safely, wear seatbelts and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.  One stellar campaign that the federal agency conducts annually is the Click it or Ticket campaign that encourages motorists to wear seatbelts while driving.  The campaign is credited with increasing seatbelt usage across the country, and usage rates are currently now at above 90%. This is a very respectable percentage, although it is still imperative that we reach out to the 10% of motorists who fail to wear seat belts. Individuals who fail to wear a seatbelt are those who are most likely to suffer a personal injury in a car accident. To learn more about personal injury matters involving car accidents, please visit our website.

However, according to some experts, it is not the campaign by itself that has promoted seat belt use.  Rather, it is the fact that newer automobiles now come with a seatbelt warning system that gives a motorist time to wear the seatbelt and make sure that everyone else is also buckled in before the driver operates the car.  In one such system, the car will not start until a few seconds after the ignition is turned on to give the motorist time to buckle up.

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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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