Despite beneficial changes that have happened in the transportation industry, there is still one dangerous phenomenon that increases during the summertime. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents is highest in the summertime.
It makes sense. Summertime is the time where teenagers and less experienced drivers are out of school and are more likely to spend time behind the wheel. There are also more festivities during the summertime where adult drivers are more likely to consume alcohol. One of the most dangerous holidays where drunk driving accidents are more likely to happen is the Fourth of July. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 47% of traffic accident fatalities that happen on the Fourth involve at least one person with a BAC level of .08.
We want you to have a safe and fun summer this year, so here’s what you need to know about the dangers of drunk driving – and what you can do if you or a loved one is hurt by a drunk or drugged driver this year.
How does alcohol affect a person’s ability to drive?
You already need to be in a certain mindset to drive defensively on a roadway. You need to be able to make sound judgements and safely react to sudden changes made by other motorists, pedestrians, and road conditions. When you consume alcohol, the functions of your brain are severely reduced. Your ability to reason properly is significantly altered, as well as your muscle coordination and reaction time. The degree to which your mental abilities are altered depends on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
It is illegal for all motorists nationwide to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08 or greater. This is because in general, the greater your BAC level, the greater your chances of getting involved in a drunk driving accident. Just from having a BAC level between .01 and .07, your judgment and muscle coordination is severely impaired. A driver with a BAC level between .01 and .07 is capable of having difficulties steering, having a limited response to emergency situations, and having a serious issue performing two tasks at the same time. These are just some of the effects that can make a drunk driving accident more likely.
A quick note about drinking in the summer
We know that a cold drink on a hot day sounds like paradise to a lot of people, but summertime is a dangerous time to drink in general. This is because alcoholic beverages are not hydrating beverages. You can easily get dehydrated from drinking in the sun or hot weather.
Why does this matter? Because as the Cleveland Clinic explains, “Dehydration can also compound certain aspects of intoxication. If you’re dehydrated, you can become confused and have trouble with your coordination — symptoms very similar to being intoxicated.” As such, a dehydrated, drunk driver may be even more dangerous behind the wheel than a driver who is only impaired. In the end, the best thing you can do to stay safe is take a cab or have a designated driver.
Injuries from drunk driving accidents in Pennsylvania
When a drunk driver decides to drive after consuming alcohol, they are in danger of causing serious injuries or instant death to other motorists and pedestrians. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, “Although alcohol-related crashes accounted for approximately 7% of the total crashes in 2020, they resulted in 26% of all persons fatally injured in crashes.” They also accounted for 8% of all injuries in crashes that year.
Some of the common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Wrongful death
When you or a loved one have been seriously hurt, or if your loved one has been or killed in a drunk driving accident, we can help you.
What are the legal penalties for drunk driving in York, PA?
Drunk drivers in Pennsylvania are at risk of suffering serious legal consequences. Pennsylvania generally divides DUIs into three categories based on the amount of alcohol or drugs in a person’s system. General impairment is a DUI where the driver’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is greater than .08% but less than .10%. A “high rate” DUI is where the driver’s BAC is greater than .10% but less than .160%. Lastly, the “highest rate” DUI is where the driver’s BAC is greater than .160%. Any DUI involving drugs is considered a “highest rate” DUI for sentencing purposes. A first offense DUI can carry penalties, such as:
- Incarceration of up to 6 months
- A fine up to $5,000.
- Mandatory attendance of an alcohol highway safety school
- 12-month license suspension
- Drug and Alcohol Evaluation with possible treatment
These penalties can increase based on number of prior DUI convictions, whether someone is hurt or killed, or if a child is an occupant of the vehicle. This can result in up to a decade in prison, $25,000 fine, community service, longer license suspensions, and ignition interlock systems.
With transportation options like Uber and Lyft, there really is no legitimate excuse for trying to drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol.
How a York, PA car accident attorney can help if you are hurt by a drunk driver
After suffering from serious injuries in a drunk driving accident, your primary concern should be healing – but we know that you have other concerns, too, Like medical bills and missing time from work. An experienced York injury attorney can help provide some guidance on how to proceed after a drunk driving accident.
We know how to prove that the drunk driver’s negligent actions contributed to your accident. We review your medical bills and speak with your doctors to see what kind of treatments you will need for the years to come. We review your work history to determine how your injuries will affect your ability to make a living. We also use our knowledge and resources to combat the tactics insurance companies will use to avoid liability for your accident. In the event that a settlement is not possible, we are prepared to take your case before a jury to secure the best possible outcome we can for you.
At KBG Injury Law, we are the allies that you need after a drunk driving accident. We understand the effect that your drunk driving accident has had on you and your family, and want to help in every way possible. Call our office at 717-848-3838, or complete our contact form for a free consultation. We serve injured clients in York, Lancaster, Hanover, Harrisburg, Gettysburg and all of South Central Pennsylvania.
The personal injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law are all experienced litigators. Almost all of them represented insurance companies prior to becoming advocates for injured people, which provides them with a unique perspective and insight into how these companies operate. They also offer extensive courtroom experience if going to trial is the best legal alternative for the client.