There is no more avoidable cause of serious and fatal traffic collisions than drivers who get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It is a top cause of fatal collisions nationwide, accounting for more than 10,000 deaths per year, or about one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And there is every evidence the roads of Southwest Florida have grown particularly dangerous throughout the pandemic and hurricane recovery efforts. WGCU reported Lee County had the second-highest number of traffic deaths on record in 2022.
At least 123 motorists lost their lives on Lee County roads in 2022, according to preliminary data. The highest annual total was reported in 2005, when 150 people were killed on local roads. The first two years of the pandemic saw 107 deaths in 2020 and 118 deaths in 2021.
Recently our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral looked at the top causes of serious and fatal traffic collisions, including aggressive driving. Today, we look at intoxicated driving. With spring break approaching, it is a critical time to respect the risks on the roads of SWFL.
Intoxication a Leading Cause of Traffic Fatalities
For more than 50 years, our drunk driving injury lawyers have fought for the rights of victims and families. We take special care in working with victims of impaired driving collisions and have worked with local law enforcement to sponsor and support saturation patrols, DUI checkpoints, and other efforts to combat this senseless crime.
Unfortunately, there is still plenty of work to do.
Today, motorists need not only worry about those impaired by alcohol. The opioid epidemic and the increasingly lax marijuana laws have significantly increase the risk of motorists on the road under the influence of illegal narcotics. These cases can be harder to prove. In fact, officers at the scene may not even detect a motorist who is under the influence of drugs. A careful, independent investigation of all of the facts and circumstances of a collision is the best way to protect your rights in the wake of a serious or fatal traffic collision.
As a retirement mecca, the large number of older motorists on the road also increase the risk of drivers who are under the influence of prescription medications. This may be the result of an individual medication known to impair a driver’s abilities, or may result from interaction of two or more medications that impact reflexes, reaction time, and driving ability. Again, a thorough review of all of the factors of causation is always warranted.
While no motorist can insulate themselves from the consequences of poor decisions made by other drivers, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce your risks:
- Never drive after consuming any amount of alcohol or mind-altering substances. With ridesharing apps just a click away, there is never an excuse.
- Carefully monitor your medications and the possible side effects. Always talk to your doctor and pharmacist when medications are changed or a new medication is added.
- Try to avoid driving after dark, particularly on weekends. More than two-thirds of drunk driving collisions occur at night, and more than half occur on the weekend.
Respecting the risks can go a long way toward keeping you and your family safe. If you are involved in a serious collision, always reach out as soon as possible to a personal injury law firm with extensive experience in fighting for the rights of drunk driving victims.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.