Throughout the United States, drunk driving is a serious problem. The state of Georgia is no exception. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in our state. When your body is under the influence of alcohol and/or other controlled substances like drugs, your brain simply can’t process sights and sounds as it normally would. Reaction times crawl to a halt. Judgement calls come slower. Even a fraction of a second can matter when trying to avoid an accident.
Even when someone thinks they’re safe to drive after consuming a couple of drinks, it’s a simple fact that their body and brain are not capable of reacting as both normally would. People who get away with driving while intoxicated are lucky. But everyone’s luck runs out at some point. Unfortunately, it’s one thing to gamble with your own life. Gambling with the lives of everyone on the road around you, on the other hand, is against the law and unacceptable.
We can do better. We all have that friend, co-worker, or family member who regularly gets behind the wheel after spending the night at the bar or with a friendly six-pack. We all know that carpooling options, taxis, public transportation options, and Uber/Lyft options are available to help people get home safely, but we don’t always force that friend, co-worker, or family member to use those options. We all can do better.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident with a drunk or otherwise chemically-impaired driver, you have legal options. By filing a drunk driving accident lawsuit against the guilty driver, you send a message stating that we can all do better and that we must. An Atlanta, GA drunk driving accident lawyer can help.
How Serious of a Problem is Drunk Driving?
According to the CDC, almost 10,000 people were killed in car accidents involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol in 2014. This amounts to approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths across the nation. This is an astounding percentage of accidents considering the fact that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is 100% preventable.
In 2014, at least 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. This is a mere 1% of the 121 million drivers total who admitted to driving while under the influence of a controlled substance at some point that year.
Between the years 2003 and 2012, 3,699 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in the state of Georgia. Georgia’s average number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities tends to be lower than the national average (23% compared to 31% for the year 2011, for example), but in an era where we have more transportation options than ever as well as easy access to those options, these numbers are far higher than they should be.
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol doesn’t just affect how many passenger car accidents occur, either. One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and commercial truck accidents is intoxication. Anyone who enters a busy street or highway under the influence is potentially placing all over drivers, passengers, and riders at risk.
Georgia’s Drunk Driving Laws
Many drunk driving laws differ from state to state. Here are some of the laws affecting Georgia residents you may need to be aware of if you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver:
- Any time a Georgia driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, that driver is considered by law to be alcohol-impaired.
- The most common target for a drunk driving lawsuit is the driver who drove under the influence. In rare cases, however, that driver may be uninsured or underinsured. This can pose a challenge in Georgia courtrooms.
- For cases like the above, Georgia residents may impose liability on the general law of negligence or on the store, restaurant, or bar that sold alcohol to the guilty driver. The law that makes this possible is known as Georgia’s dram shop act.
- The dram shop act states that a liquor store, bar, or restaurant can be responsible for damages caused by a person’s drinking if alcohol was sold to an underage individual or to a person who was obviously intoxicated.
- Under this act, liability can potentially be attached to “social hosts” as well, which would include party hosts, gathering hosts, or an employer that serves alcoholic beverages at a company gathering, etc. In Georgia, hosts have a legal duty to ensure that no one consumes more alcohol then they can handle—unless they take measures to keep guests safe (Pirkle v. Hawley, 199 Ga.App. 371, 405 S.E.2d 71, cert. denied, 199 Ga.App. 906, 405 S.E.2d 71 (1991)).
Recover with the Help of a Georgia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you’ve suffered in a car accident with a drunk driver, you need a personal injury lawyer who can not only make sure you get the financial assistance your family needs, but that you make it clear to the guilty driver that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is not acceptable. Lawsuits have the unique ability to force individuals to change their habits. Personal injury claims are also civil matters and separate from any criminal charges which may already be in place.
At Bey & Associates, we care about our clients and provide quality legal counsel you won’t be able to find elsewhere. We fight aggressively for victims who have been involved in drunk driving accidents. We know that we, as a nation, can do better. For more information or a free consultation, contact our office. We can pair you with an Atlanta, GA drunk driving accident lawyer today.