Drunk Driving and the Two Automatic Statutory Offenses Drivers are Charged With
Unless all drivers realize and accept the fact that they put in danger many lives, including their own, whenever they drink and then drive their vehicle, there will always be injuries, deaths and damage to properties.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states the drunk driving has always been one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in the US. In 2010 it caused 10,228 deaths and accounted for 1.4 million arrests; 9,878 people lost their lives in 2011 due to it, with drivers aged between 21 and 24 being identified as those with the highest alcohol concentration level in their blood, while in 2012, the number of lives it claimed went up to 10,322.
The first blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers was determined at 0.15% – this was made through the research efforts of the National Safety Council and the American Medical Association in 1938. Until the late 90s, however, death toll due to driving under the influence had an average of 20,000 annually. In 2000, the US Congress finally passed into law the new national illegal limit for impaired driving: 0.08% BAC.
Presently, two statutory offenses are applied by all 50 US states plus Puerto Rico on those caught under the influence of alcohol while driving:
- The first is the charge of DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while impaired/ intoxicated), or OWI (operating a motor vehicle while impaired/ intoxicated). Determination of any of the three takes its basis from the arresting officer’s observations and judgment arrived at through roadside sobriety test results, and the driver’s slurred speech and driving behavior
- The second is what is termed as the “illegal per se” or driving with at least a 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level
Drunk driving offenses, especially repeat offenses or if someone was hurt or killed due to the accident entails many other legal implications for the liable negligent driver besides the heavy fines, probable jail sentence, community service or attendance in a DUI school. The court may also decide to require the driver to fill out an SR-22 form (also called Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form or FR-44) and require that an ignition interlock device (IID) be installed in his/her vehicle.
Victims of personal injury in San Diego should contact a personal injury lawyer who can help them file the necessary lawsuit (to bring the liable party to justice) and obtain the full amount of financial compensation allowed by the law. This compensation usually covers a person’s injury related expenses such as hospital bills and lost wages.