DRUNK DRIVING AND DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED: TIS THE SEASON; BE RESPONSIBLE
The CDC reports that every day, 28 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. That does not include those cases where the driver is impaired by drugs or some other substance. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion. In the State of Maryland, 6,266 impaired driving accidents resulted in 1,920 injuries and 160 deaths, based on the 2017 Maryland Impaired Driving Prevention Program Area Brief.
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, our skilled auto accident lawyers in Rockville and Bethesda are here to assist you. Let our lawyers fight to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, and work to make sure that we hold drunk drivers accountable for the injury and carnage they cause due to their reckless choice to get behind the wheel. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.
The devastation caused by drunk drivers:
In recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 10,000 people lost their lives in accidents where alcohol was a factor. This number represents almost one-third of all vehicle-related, deaths on our highways each year.
- Children: Among children 0-14 years old, killed in car accidents, 1,132, sixteen (16%) percent of the accidents or 209 deaths involved drunk or impaired drivers
- Arrests: In 2015, over 1 million drivers were arrested for alcohol or narcotics-related, driving offenses; and keep in mind, that is just the number of drunk or impaired drivers caught by police. Studies suggest the number is triple that amount
- Drug use: Impairment from drugs, other than alcohol (legal and illegal), are a factor in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.5
- Marijuana: Statistics show an increase in the drivers behind the wheel with marijuana in their system. In fact, 13% of nighttime or weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.7 Users of marijuana were about 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers who did not use marijuana.
Who is most at risk?
Young people: According to the CDC
- At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people.8
- Drivers with alcohol levels or BACs of 0.08% or higher are involved in more fatal crashes. Three out of 10 victims were between 21 and 24 years of age (28%). The next two largest groups were persons aged 25 to 34 (27%) and 35 to 44 (23%).1
- Of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2015, 27% had blood alcohol levels of 0.08% or greater.
- Motorcycle riders ages 35-39 have the highest percentage of deaths while impaired, with blood alcohol levels averaging 08% or greater (37% in 2015).9
Drivers with prior alcohol driving or DWI convictions:
- Studies found that drivers involved in fatal accidents with blood alcohol levels of 0.08% or greater were 4.5 times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were drivers than drivers who had no prior convictions
How Alcohol Affects Driving
The effects of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and one's ability?
Information in the table below published by the CDC shows the impacts of alcohol on the average person at various BAC levels. Keep in mind that this table is based upon the size of the average man and woman in the United States. Impacts can vary as being more or less severe depending on a number of circumstances.
Maryland Drunk Driving Laws
In Maryland, the District and Virginia, and the rest of the 50 states, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if your BAC is above certain levels, in Maryland the number is 0.08. However, as noted above, a recent study found approximately over 1 million drivers in the U.S. were arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs on a yearly basis. In the Maryland area or DMV, over 50,000 people per year are arrested for driving under the influence.
If convicted of driving while under the influence of Alcohol (DUI/DWI), criminal penalties and
license restrictions in Maryland, may include:
- A first offense in Maryland may carry penalties of up to $500, and/or two months in jail, and eight points against your driving record, or result in having your license revoked for six months. Drivers under 21 face a one-year suspension.
- A second offense for DWI or DWI may carry penalties of up to $500 in fines, one year in jail, and/or eight points on your driving record, and license revocation of up to 9 or 12 months. If the driver is under the age of 21 he or she may face a two-year license suspension.
How to Avoid Drunk or Impaired Driving and Save Lives:
Drunk driving should be avoided at any cost. That does not mean that consuming a small glass of wine or bear with your dinner is prohibited. Each person's tolerance is different; know your limits! The following steps or alternatives can help keep you and other motorists safe:
- Designated driver. If you head out with a group, have one person serve as the designated driver, meaning they are sober and fully capable of operating a car.
- Use UBER, LYFT or a taxi service. A safe ride is cell phone click or phone call away.
- Buddy System: Give your keys to somebody else if you plan to drink, or take their keys away, if they seem impaired. They may be mad at you for the moment, but will thank you later as you may have just saved a life.
- Control your alcohol consumption if you plan to drive. You are your own best line of defense
- If hosting a party or having friends over and serving alcohol, make sure that every guest has a ride home or give them a place to rest until they sober up should they want to drive.
CALL TO ACTION