Individuals who choose to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much alcohol put the lives of everyone around them in jeopardy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8,476 people died as a result of drunk driving collisions over a ten year period of time in Florida alone. Thousands more sustained often severe injuries in these crashes, leading to millions of dollars in losses due to medical bills, lost wages, and more. These accidents and the resulting injuries and losses are completely preventable, however, so the drivers who choose to operate a vehicle while drunk should be held fully liable for their actions.
Dangers Of Drunk Driving
Alcohol has many effects on the body that can make driving a car dangerous. The following are only some effects that may cause a drunk driver to be a hazard:
- Slowed reaction time and reflexes;
- Blurred vision and decreased visual perception;
- Impaired decision-making and judgment;
- Decreased concentration and focus on the road;
- Lessened hand-eye-foot coordination.
There are many different driving behaviors that may indicate a driver has had too much to drink, including:
- Swerving and the inability to stay in a designated lane;
- Driving the wrong way down a highway or roadway;
- Driving too fast or too slowly;
- Failing to notice or obey traffic signals;
- Not using headlights or proper signals;
- Other erratic driving maneuvers.
These can all lead to serious collisions and injuries to both individuals in the drunk driver’s car, occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and more.
Negligence Per Se In Drunk Driving Cases
In order to file a successful personal injury or wrongful death claim following a car accident, a plaintiff must sufficiently prove that the opposing party acted in a negligent manner, which can involve presenting a substantial amount of evidence. In certain cases, however, the law makes it easier to prove negligence when the liable party has violated certain non-traffic, penal laws. In such cases, the violation of the law can lead to a finding of “negligence per se,” which eliminates the need for any further evidence of negligence. An injured party must then only provide evidence of the damages they seek.
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08 percent is against criminal laws in Florida. If caught, a drunk driver can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime. Such a conviction can also lead to a finding of negligence per se in any related civil claims resulting from an accident that occurred due to the drunk driver.
Because of the possibility of negligence per se, it is very important that law enforcement are called following a car accident in case the other driver was intoxicated. Not only can that begin the criminal process, but police can also perform breath or blood tests that can serve as concrete evidence of drunk driving even if the driver is not ultimately convicted.
Negligence per se is only one of many legal issues that may be involved in a drunk driving accident case. It is important for anyone injured by a drunk driver to discuss a possible claim with a drunk driving accident attorney in Tampa who understands how to handle this type of case.