We are entering the most dangerous time of the year for drunk drivers.
Recently we have written about the threat of early darkness. Back-to-school dangers. Holiday and tourism traffic. And the increase in cycling traffic that comes with fall weather. But no discussion of autumn road safety is complete without mentioning the outsized risk of intoxicated motorists — a threat that reaches its annual peak during the fall football and end-of-year holiday seasons.
Drunk Driving Prevention in SWFL
Locally, runners and walkers merged on Jet Blue Park this month for the Walk Like MADD & 5K, which aimed to raise money and awareness of drunk-driving prevention efforts as we head into the holiday season. As The News-Press reported, more than 400 are killed and 5,000 injured in Florida drunk driving accidents each year, making the Sunshine State among the most dangerous in the country when it comes to impaired drivers.
Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Naples are long-time supporters of the MADD Chapter of Southwest Florida, which reports more than 10,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 injures each year are caused by drunk-driving traffic collisions nationwide. We have seen too often the devastation caused to innocent victims and their families. And we remain dedicated to fighting for justice.
Despite being among the most dangerous states, Florida ranks just 14th best when it comes to drunk-driving prevention efforts, according to MADD. The national organization is pushing Florida to pass ignition-interlock device mandates for all offenders (current Florida only mandates them for repeat offenders). The state scored high marks for use of sobriety checkpoints (Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner has long supported local law enforcement checkpoint and blitz patrols). But Florida scored poorly when it comes to license-revocation laws, child-endangerment laws, and strengthening penalties for offenders who attempt to avoid conviction by refusing breathalyzer or field-sobriety tests at the scene.
Specifically, MADD wants Florida to adopt a felony child-endangering law for those who drive intoxicated with a child in the car, and to enact a mandate for ignition-interlock devices for those who refuse to submit to an alcohol test. While MADD’s efforts have helped lead a nationwide decline from more than 20,000 deaths a year in the early 1980s, drunk drivers are still responsible for 1 in 3 road deaths in the United States each year — making it, along with speeding and distracted driving — a primary threat on the road.
All 3 of these causes are preventable.
Drunk-Driving Injury: Liability & Insured Parties
The complexity of these cases is exacerbated by the very serious and fatal injuries these crashes often cause. While fault may be an issue destined for relatively little debate, it still must be established and consulting a personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling these cases throughout Southwest Florida will best protect your rights from the outset.
Of critical importance is identifying all responsible parties and their respective liability insurers. In far too many of these cases, at-fault drivers are either uninsured, or have insurance that is nowhere near adequate when it comes to compensating victims for losses. Especially in cases where multiple victims suffered injury, an at-fault driver’s insurance often proves inadequate. In such cases, a driver may pursue a claim against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (provided they carry it), or look to other responsible third-parties, such as a bar, restaurant or social host that served the alcohol.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.