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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Should the Blood Alcohol Concentration Legal Limit Be Lowered?

In 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) implemented “a national limit, under which it would be illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher” to deter impaired driving. (one.nhtsa.gov)

At that time, the number .08 BAC was chosen for the following reasons:

  • Most drivers are substantially impaired at .08 BAC
  • The risk of being involved in a crash increases substantially at the .08% level
  • .08 BAC is a reasonable level at which to set the legal limit – it’s not normally reached with a glass or two of wine with dinner, or with a couple of beers after work
  • The public supports BAC levels below .10
  • “Most other industrialized nations have set BAC limits at .08 or lower and had these laws in place for many years.”

A study published in the March 2020 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that a .08 BAC may actually be too high of a limit for drivers. That study, using data from the National Highway Traffic Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System between the years 2000 and 2015, showed that “one in seven alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths involves drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC’s) below the legal limit.” (Minnpost.com)

Of the 223,000 car crash fatalities, in which one or more drivers were impaired, 15% (nearly 34,000) of those crashes involved drivers with a BAC level below .08. “These drivers tested positive for alcohol, but not enough to be considered legally impaired.”

The study points out that the risk of a driver crashing climbs significantly once the driver’s BAC exceeds .02.(USNews.com)  Since 2013, The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended reducing the legal BAC limit to .05 or lower. It is estimated that this would save up to 1,790 lives a year. (Fortune.com)  There has been resistance to making that change. Other countries that have adopted the .05% limit have seen declines in traffic crashes.

Robert L. Sumwalt with the NTSB says the goal is to separate drinking from driving. “We don’t tell kids, you should only drive a little drunk. We teach them not to drink and drive…Americans can drink responsibly. And they can drive responsibly. But nobody can responsibly drink and drive.”

Drunker than you realize? A few facts that may make you a bad judge:

  • A full stomach can slow the absorption of alcohol, but it does not mean alcohol can’t creep up on you.
  • Coffee will not make you sober. Only time will.
  • Carbonated beverages can cause quicker alcohol absorption.
  • Stress can cause alcohol to enter your bloodstream faster.
  • Women get drunk faster than men, even at the same body weight. (com)

THE LAW OFFICE OF DAVID L. HOOD: FIGHTING FOR VICTIMS OF DRUNK DRIVING AND NEGLIGENCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 25 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.

Other online resources used for this article:

http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/50/3/E13

https://www.basisonline.org/2020/03/lower-bac-motor-vehicle-crashes.html

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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Effects of Secondhand Drinking

Misusing alcohol not only affects the person doing the drinking, but also everyone who crosses paths with that person. More than likely, you have never heard of the term Secondhand Drinking (SHD), “yet, secondhand drinking can forever alter people’s lives.”(BreakingtheCycles.com)

What is Secondhand Drinking?

Very similar to Secondhand Smoke, the term Secondhand Drinking “describes the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others.” These behaviors may not be intentional, but they happen because alcohol changes the way the brain works.

A study recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, reported that one out of five adults (around 53 million people in the United States) suffers because of another person’s excessive drinking annually. Those that were harmed by another person’s drinking reported different ranges of harm, from property damage, to threats and harassment, to physical injury. The most common harm, reported by 16% of those surveyed was threats or harassment.

People on the Receiving End of Secondhand Drinking May Experience:

  • Deeply hurt feelings
  • Injury or death due to someone driving while impaired
  • Trying to survive in a home with an excessive drinker
  • Recovering from a concussion after a brutal beating
  • Developing depression or anxiety
  • Crippling migraines, causing one to have to leave work early
  • Stomach ailments or sleep disorders
  • Questioning oneself, thinking it could be their fault
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Changed family dynamics, divorce
  • Developing a substance abuse problem

Examples of impacts of Secondhand Drinking and the Ripple Effects:

Joanne – Joanne was the designated driver for her co-worker’s Happy Hour one night. She drank her soda and watched as her co-workers, one after another insisted on buying the next round. On the way home, she had dropped off everyone but Jackson, the most intoxicated of the group. Joanne lost control of the car when Jackson shouted, “Turn here,” and grabbed the steering wheel. Unfortunately, Jackson had just unfastened his seat belt, and was thrown from the car. He is now a quadriplegic. Joanne now refuses to leave her house. That moment in time has forever drawn a line in her life, the one she had before the accident…and the one after. The ripple effects – Jackson’s family now has to take care of him 24/7, some of them having to change jobs, to share care-giving shifts; his home had to be remodeled for a wheelchair; resources have been drained because of medical bills and home remodeling. Young Joanne’s parents have to relive “the horror for months on end through depositions and endless hours of insurance and legal dealings, constantly searching for how best to help their daughter overcome her despondency and despair, wondering if Joanne will ever get married, have children or become the vibrant, talented, lover-of-life Joanne she was – before the accident.”

Susan – Susan’s husband repeatedly promises to cut down on, or stop his drinking; but he doesn’t keep his promise. When Susan confronts him, he accuses her of checking up on him and “pops open another beer, asking, “What’s the big deal, can’t a guy have a couple of drinks after a hard day at work.” The discussion always ends up in a huge argument. Susan is a detective with the Police Department. At work, she cannot concentrate, as she rehashes the arguments in her mind, over and over again. The effects ripple down to her co-workers. They know something is going on with Susan, and try to cover for her. Her partner (fellow detective) is having stress-related symptoms, worrying about Susan, and having to pick up her slack. “Her partner goes home tense and angry and has trouble sleeping at night.”

These examples show how Secondhand drinking can affect all of us, whether directly or indirectly.

THE LAW OFFICE OF DAVID L. HOOD: FIGHTING FOR VICTIMS OF DRUNK DRIVING AND NEGLIGENCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 25 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/health/alcohol-harms-secondhand-drinking-study/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Health&utm_campaign=ca6ac2514f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_02_01_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ddc799ed25-ca6ac2514f-98267229

https://nypost.com/2019/07/01/effects-of-secondhand-drinking-hurt-53-million-americans-study/

https://www.news18.com/news/lifestyle/second-hand-drinking-as-bad-as-second-hand-smoke-2211769.html

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drowsy Driving Comparable to Drunk Driving

The holidays are quickly approaching, and there will be many travelers on the roads, many driving after a long day at work. Some will be driving after getting virtually no sleep.

Our busy lives can make the roads a dangerous place, especially when so many are on the roads. Fatigue can be caused by many factors: a new baby keeping you awake at night, work, staying out late with friends, or a long, monotonous drive.

Living in a 24/7 society makes it hard to get the sleep we need, due to long work hours, longer commutes, and “exponential advancement of technology.” Scientists have found that driving after getting less than four hours of sleep a night is like “driving with a blood alcohol concentration roughly 1.5 times the legal limit.” (HealthDay, https://consumer.healthday.com/sleep-disorder-information-33/misc-sleep-problems-news-626/drowsy-driving-as-risky-as-drunk-driving-737834.html)

Police and hospital reports are used by NHTSA to determine the number of drowsy-driving crashes. In 2015, police reported over 72,000 crashes involving drowsy drivers. These accidents caused 41,000 injuries and 824 deaths.

A study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examining data on 5,470 crashes, found that an estimated 7% of U.S. car accidents and 16% of all fatal collisions involve sleepy drivers.

Unfortunately, determining an exact number of crashes, injuries and fatalities due to drowsy-driving is not possible. “Crash investigators can look for clues that drowsiness contributed to a crash, but these clues are not always identifiable or conclusive.” (NHTSA, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving)

Research shows that those who get less than seven hours of sleep at night are not only more likely to be in a car accident, but to actually cause the crash. Although experts say adults need seven to nine hours of sleep at night, surveys show that 20% of Americans fall short of this recommendation.

Being awake also does not mean you’re alert. “Sleep-deprived drivers are still at increased risk of making mistakes – like failing to notice something important, or misjudging a gap in traffic – which can have tragic consequences.”

Tips to Avoid Driving Drowsy

  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep on a daily basis is the best way to avoid driving drowsy. For more information on healthy sleep, see the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the start of a long family car trip.
  • Advise teens to delay driving until they’re well-rested. Teens need more sleep than they realize.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before driving. Alcohol consumption increases sleepiness and impairment.
  • Check prescriptions and over-the-counter labels on medicines you take to be sure drowsiness is not a side-effect. If so, use public transportation when possible.
  • Avoid driving during peak sleepiness periods (midnight to 6:00AM and late afternoon).

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Serving Car Accident Victims in South Carolina

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session. From that moment until your case is closed, we will stay with you each step of the way in the fight to achieve justice for you and your family.

Other online references used in this article: Safety and Health, https://www.lds.org/callings/church-safety-and-health/training-and-video-resources/drowsy-driving?lang=eng

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

South Carolina Ranked 2nd in Nation for Drunk-Driving Deaths

With Labor Day quickly approaching, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a Labor Day Campaign to stop drunk driving: “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Summer is coming to an end, and the Labor Day Holiday is the last chance to enjoy the warm weather with cookouts, a trip to the beach, or traveling with family. “As the Labor Day holiday is one of the most dangerous on our roads, State and local law enforcement will be making a special effort leading up to and throughout the Labor Day holiday (August 16 – September 4) to protect us all from drunk drivers.” NHTSA

In 2016, nearly one-third of fatal car accidents were caused by impaired driving. That’s one alcohol-related driving death every 50 minutes.

South Carolina ranks 2nd in the nation for drunk-driving deaths, according to a 2016 report from Safewise, a home security company. The 2016 statistics show South Carolina had 7.98 Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100,000, or 396 impaired driving deaths. Therefore, Labor Day weekend, South Carolina roads will be some of the most dangerous in the Nation.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol will run a “Sober or Slammer” campaign, with the message “Drink. Drive. Die”, August 17 through September 3. Troopers will be working with local municipalities to keep the roads safe.

These days, there is no reason for anyone to drink and drive. Most of us have cell phones to call for a taxi, or a sober ride program. This will keep everyone safe, and help you avoid arrest. Being arrested for drunk driving (a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), not only causes shame and embarrassment, but may come with “up to $10,000 in fines, increased insurance costs, and other expenses.” NHTSA

“We’ve made it as easy as ever with NHTSA’s SaferRide app, which can help you find your local cab company’s number or send your location to a friend so they can come pick you up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.”

Other ride options are: Uber for Apple devices and Android devices and Lyft for Apple devices and Android devices.

Shoreline Behavioral Health Services prevention director, Jessie Marlowe says education is key. “Whether you’re a cashier or a server or bartender, we have education to teach laws and liabilities about over-serving alcohol or even serving alcohol to minors. Also, be open. Even if someone is arrested for DUI and the case is dismissed, there could still be treatment services they could maybe take advantage of.” If someone receives a DUI, they will be mandated by court to go to the ADSAP program (South Carolina’s eight-week-long alcohol and drug safety action program) before they can get their driver’s license back.

THE LAW OFFICE OF DAVID L. HOOD: FIGHTING FOR VICTIMS OF DRUNK DRIVING AND NEGLIGENCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 25 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

What Happens When I’m Hit by a Drunk Driver in South Carolina?

About one-third of all traffic fatalities in South Carolina involve a drunk driver, which is one of the highest rates in the nation. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a drunk driver’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and other costs. Learn more about the problem of drunk driving and how to proceed with a drunk-driving related auto accident claim below.

There are More Car Accident Fatalities During Spring Break in South Carolina

During Spring Break season, fatal car accidents increase dramatically. In 2014, researchers studied crash data in 14 popular Spring Break locations, including Myrtle Beach and Horry County, South Carolina. They found that traffic deaths increased by 9.1% during traditional Spring Break weeks. Most of these fatal crashes involved young, out-of-state drivers.

Why Are Drunk and Drugged Drivers So Dangerous?

Alcohol impairs both your decision-making skills and your physical coordination and reflexes, even if you’re below the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two alcoholic drinks can cause decreased visual function, problems multi-tasking, and poor judgment.

If you’re a male of average height and weight, drinking about three alcoholic drinks in an hour will give you a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05, which is below the legal BAC limit. However, A 0.05 BAC is still enough to impair coordination, decrease your visual tracking abilities, and slow your reaction time by about a tenth of a second.

This might sound minor, but if you’re driving at 70 mph with a 0.05 BAC, it means you’ll travel about one extra car length before responding to a hazard. Based on this information, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggested in 2013 that the U.S. impose a 0.05 BAC limit instead of the current 0.08.

Studies have also shown that drivers who have a 0.08 BAC have relatively poor concentration, difficulties with perception and self-control, decreased motor skills, and blurred vision. They also typically struggle to control the speed of their car and to make good driving decisions.

Now, imagine a drunk driver on Spring Break. They’re trying to follow directions in an unfamiliar location, perhaps fiddling with the maps app on their phone, and they also can’t properly steer, see, or make decisions. Under these circumstances, one error can easily lead to catastrophic results for a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

Who Is Liable When Drunk Drivers Cause Crashes and Injure People?

If you’ve been hit and injured by a drunk driver, you might have multiple lawsuits and claims depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash. These claims could include:

  • Liability claims against the driver: There’s a good chance you have a claim against the at-fault driver (or drivers) who caused the crash and their insurance companies.
  • Dram shop claims against a bar, restaurant, or liquor store: If a bar or restaurant overserved the drunk driver or sold alcohol to a minor driver, you might have a negligence claim against the business.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist claims: Your personal uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage might cover some of your losses if the drunk driver doesn’t have insurance or if they have minimal insurance coverage.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) claims: If you have a PIP policy, it might help cover some of your lost wages and medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.

Every drunk driving claim is unique, so it’s impossible to generalize about your case without knowing all of the facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your potential claims, contact an experienced South Carolina auto accident lawyer for help and advice.

What Should I Do After a Drunk Driver Causes a Crash?

In the aftermath of a drunk driving wreck, it’s understandably hard to think clearly. Your focus is on your safety, getting medical attention, and calling law enforcement. If you didn’t think to take pictures or identify witnesses, don’t panic. An experienced South Carolina car accident and personal injury lawyer can investigate the crash that injured you and help collect evidence for your claim.

RELATED: These 6 Tips Can Help You After a Car Accident

After the accident, you’ll typically have to file a series of insurance claims. While the insurance adjuster might want to interview you alone and might discourage you from hiring a personal injury lawyer, it’s not in your best interest to make statements or negotiate a settlement without help from an attorney. Instead, you should contact an experienced auto accident lawyer right away for help.

The Law Office of David L. Hood: Fighting for Victims of Drunk Driving and Negligence in South Carolina

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 25 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.

References

French, M., & Gumus, G. (2014, April 7). Fast times during spring breaks: Are traffic fatalities another consequence? Economic Inquiry. Retrieved from http://conference.iza.org/conference_files/riskonomics2014/french_m10000.pdf

Uren, B. (2016, July 29). How alcohol impairs your ability to drive. University of Michigan Health. Retrieved from https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/how-alcohol-impairs-your-ability-to-drive

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.