Residents across California recently attended festivities to celebrate New Year's Eve. However, along with celebration comes an increase in drunk driving accidents. Statistics show that nearly one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident during their lifetime. Drunk drivers are responsible for over 40 percent of fatal car accidents. The risk of being in an alcohol-related car accident on New Year's Eve increases significantly from these statistics.
Drunk drivers can cause serious injuries and even death when operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Even a few alcoholic drinks can impair a driver's reaction time and put the driver and other motorists at risk. The legal blood alcohol limit for operating a vehicle in California is .08. Research has shown that it takes around six hours for your body to clear all the alcohol from your system if you have a blood alcohol level of .08.
If a drunk driving accident results in a fatality, California law requires mandatory blood alcohol testing in most accidents. The driver, vehicle occupants and pedestrians are required to be tested if a death occurs less than 24 hours after an accident.
In addition to criminal charges, civil claims for relief may be filed against a drunk driver. In order to bring a successful claim, a plaintiff will need to prove the intoxication level of the driver. A plaintiff will also need to show that the level was not safe to operate a vehicle and that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care for the safety of the public.
The amount of damages that may be awarded depends on several factors. An experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney can assist in bringing a claim against an alleged drunk driver.
Source: The Daily World, "H-WHPD encourages safe driving on New Year's Eve," Melissa Martinez, Dec. 31, 2012