Many people have experienced at least one traffic accident in their lives, but those who have been through a crash caused by a drunk driver know one thing: DWI crashes are different from other vehicle collisions, and the devastation that they cause can be life-altering for an entire family.
Here’s makes an accident with a drunk driver different than a regular accident, how and when DWI accidents happen, and how you can get legal help if you’ve been hurt.
How DWI Crashes Are Different
DWI crashes are different from regular crashes in several important ways. When someone chooses to drive drunk and causes an accident, the result is often a collision that’s far more severe than crashes that happen while sober. The effects of alcohol lead to loss of judgment and reduction in hand-eye coordination, and if driver makes dangerous maneuvers on the road, he or she may not be able to control the vehicle.
Intoxication can also affect attention, meaning that the eyes and mind wander from the task of driving. This can lead to drunk drivers drifting into oncoming traffic and cause head-on collisions at full speed, to devastating effect.
Drunk drivers may face criminal charges as a result of the accident, which can complicate legal matters in some ways. However, victims can file a personal injury suit against the driver even if he or she is facing criminal charges or already in jail. A personal injury suit is filed in civil court, which is a different system from the criminal court that would handle a DWI charge by law enforcement. A personal injury lawsuit in is often the only way for victims to receive compensation for their injuries, property damage, and other expenses related to the accident.
How and When DWI Accidents Happen
Driving under the influence of alcohol (or other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, marijuana, or other illegal substances) is more common than many people realize. In fact, almost one-third of all fatal car crashes nationwide involved alcohol impairment, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control, and there were over a million DWI arrests nationally in 2015 alone.
Not only is drunk driving more frequent than people think, drunk driving accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of an accident, such as the time of year. Some of these factors can include:
Holidays. There is often a spike in DWI accidents around holidays, especially in the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year holiday, including Christmas. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day also have significant drunk driving increases.
- Seasonal peaks. The summer season sees a rise in DWI accidents as warmer weather, longer daylight hours, and better road conditions lead to more people on the road. May and July each account for nine percent of all fatal DWI crashes. Later in the year, October accounts for another nine percent of fatalities. Nationwide, February has fewer DWI crashes than any other month.
- Time of day. The hours between midnight and 3:00 A.M. are when the largest number of drunk drivers are on the road on most days. Overall, the risk of a fatal crash is quadrupled at night versus during the day.
- Age. Age is a big factor in DWI accidents and alcohol-related crash injuries and deaths. Out of all fatal crashes involving drivers age 21 to 24, over a quarter were over the legal blood alcohol limit.
All of these factors together can create conditions that lead to a terrible accident, leaving victims severely injured and families grieving for lost loved ones.
Get Legal Help Now
If you’ve been hurt or a loved one has been killed in a DWI accident, you deserve justice in a court of law. Wayne Wright LLP has been standing up for the rights of those hurt by drunk drivers for years, and we’d like to help you and your family recover what you may be owed for your injuries. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.