Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Victims

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A bill that would require all those convicted of DUI in Florida – including first timers – to have ignition interlock devices installed has successfully made it through its first hurdle in the state House of Representatives. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved House Bill 949 by a unanimous vote of 10-0. beer

Now, the measure has to be approved by two more committees before it is debated by the full House. In the coming weeks, the measure will be weighed by the Judiciary Committee. From there, it will need approval from the Government Accountability Committee.

Florida statute at this time does not automatically require ignition interlocks for first-time offenders caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Instead, F.S. 315.1937 and F.S. 322.2715 hold that a first-time offender may be required to have the device installed, but only if:

  • His/ her blood-alcohol level exceeded 0.15 (nearly double the legal limit of 0.08);
  • Was accompanied at the time of the offense by a person under the age of 18.

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Recently, a 40-year-old Florida woman was arrested on charges of child neglect and drug possession after she was found passed out at the wheel of her vehicle, parked in a gas station with her 4-year-old son in the back seat. According to News4Jax, police were called by a passerby who discovered she needed medical attention. After she was revived, she allegedly conceded to officers that she’d been using heroin in front of her son and that she’d momentarily blacked out. heroin

The boy was turned over to the custody of his father, the woman’s husband, who told police that while he suspected his wife had a problem, he didn’t realize it had gotten this bad. Thankfully, the vehicle wasn’t moving at the time of the incident and the boy was not injured, and neither was anyone else. But there is plenty of evidence that an increasing number of drivers are behind the wheel under the influence of drugs – which puts all of us at high risk of collisions resulting in injury and even death.

Federal data reveals every two hours, someone in South Florida suffers a heroin overdose. Perhaps this isn’t entirely shocking, given that southern Florida has always been at the forefront of drug abuse epidemics. There was cocaine and then crack cocaine in the 1980s. Then there was oxycodone and other painkillers, which turned this region into the “pill mill capital” of the country. Then we started seeing a rush of synthetic drugs – aka “bath salts” – over the last few years. Now, we have become a hot spot for abuse of heroin and synthetic opioids, carfentanil and fentanyl.  Continue reading →

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Technically speaking, New Year’s Eve isn’t the worst when it comes to drunk driving. But after the clock strikes midnight – watch out. newyearseve

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that half of all deadly car accidents on New Year’s Day involve a motorist who was deemed drunk, which usually means having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. The deadliest day of the year on our roads varies from year-to-year, but New Year’s Day is almost always in the top three. Research by the National Safety Council revealed that during the New Year’s holiday season in a recent five-year span, about 42 percent of traffic deaths were related to drunk driving. These figures include pedestrians who are struck by vehicles too. The fact that the holiday this year falls on a weekend could mean we’ll see even higher rates of personal injury and death on the roads.

For drunk driving accident victims, there may be several avenues of recovering compensation, depending on the circumstances.  Continue reading →

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A South Florida bar has been ordered to pay $7 million to the families of a young couple killed in a bike accident on Labor Day 2013. The pair was riding a tandem bicycle when they were struck by a drunk driver who had reportedly just left the bar intoxicated. tandembicycle

What’s interesting about this case is that normally, victims of drunk drivers in Florida would not be able to collect damages from the establishment that served the driver alcohol except in very limited circumstances.

However, defendant bar was the employer of the drunk driver, who was reportedly drinking throughout his shift and left intoxicated after a friend failed to pick him up as promised. That may have made a difference in this case. Continue reading →

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Florida’s dram shop law may offer monetary relief for drunk driving accident victims – but only under limited circumstances. beerhand

As far as dram shop laws go, Florida’s is one of the most narrow. Codified in F.S. 768.125, the measure protects persons and business establishments that furnish alcoholic beverages to those of lawful drinking age who are not known to be habitually addicted to alcohol. That means the only time drunk driving accident victims can sue the bar that served the driver may be if the driver was under 21 or if he or she was a known alcoholic.

There have been some instances in which the courts have extended liability, but it usually involves additional assumption of duty. That’s what plaintiffs in the recent case of Torre v. Flanigan’s Enterprises Inc. sought to establish. Continue reading →

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The Daily Business Review reports a $1.35 million settlement has been reached to compensate surviving victims of a fatal DUI crash in South Florida involving a drunk driver who had no insurance.trafficlight

Victims were a driver in his 70s, a backseat passenger in her 70s and a front seat passenger who was 99. They were stopped at a Palm Beach traffic light when a reported drunk driver came barreling toward the intersection at 70 mph. He did not stop or slow down. The elderly driver and passengers were transported to the hospital, where the oldest died three days later. The back seat passenger had to undergo surgery and spent more than four months in the hospital recovering.

How is it possible that these individuals could receive this kind of compensation when the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance? Continue reading →

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Drunk driving is deadly. That’s no news flash. Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol increases the risk of a crash four-fold (or 12-fold if the driver has a blood-alcohol level of higher than 0.15). These drivers are responsible for at least a third of all fatal crashes in the U.S., killing more than 10,000 people every year.beergarden

But apparently, that doesn’t convince enough people to stop doing it.

In a recent analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of self-reported data from 2012, more than 4.2 million adults admitted to driving at least once while under the influence of alcohol in the last 30 days.

If we take that figure as a monthly average, that means nationally, there are 121 million trips made by impaired drivers across the country every single month. We’re talking about a national rate of 505 episodes per 1,000 population each year. Continue reading →

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At bars and nightclubs across the Sunshine State, patrons are subjected nightly to challenges such as “Bladder Buster,” “Sink or Swim” and “Penny ’til you Pee.”
All of these are different variations of “extreme” drink specials that many other states have seen fit to ban – not only because they put patrons in danger of alcohol poisoning, but also because it increases the risk that one or more of those patrons will venture onto the roadways while extremely intoxicated.

Unfortunately, the reason why these specials are so popular here is because there is no law specifically banning them. When it comes to civil liability, victims of drunk drivers can sue establishments that served alcohol to the impaired motorist, but only in certain situations.
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Florida dram shop liability laws exist so that those harmed by drunk drivers may collect damages from entities that knowingly served alcohol to minors or people known to be habitually dependent on alcohol. Dram shops are any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages to the public.

In addition to allowing an avenue of recovery for victims of drunk drivers, F.S. 768.125 is intended to deter bars and restaurants from simply selling as much alcohol as possible to whomever without regard for the consequence to the public.

The law holds businesses accountable under one of two conditions:
–Drunk driver was not yet of legal age to consume alcohol (21) and the bar employees knew or should have known this fact;
–Drunk driver was habitually addicted to alcohol and bar staff knew or should have known this fact.
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DUI ignition interlock devices are effective at driving down recidivism rates among impaired driving offenders – but only so long as they are installed. Those rates begin to creep back up as soon as the devices are uninstalled. alcohol.jpg

This is according to a new report by The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, which recommends the state expand its ignition interlock program to encompass all first-time DUI offenders, as well as imposition for extended duration. The report also looks at how we might address problems with the program, such as the fact that only about half of those required to install the device actually do so.

According to researchers, there were 50,377 drivers arrested in Florida for drunk-driving in 2013. Most typically have their driver’s license revoked for six months or more upon conviction.
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