Articles Posted in Drunk and Drugged Driving

Following a major car accident, it is often customary for the parties to contact the local authorities or police so that an official report can be generated. Contacting law enforcement can also be helpful to establish a paper trail so that the victims of the accident have official documentation of the how, where, when, and why associated with the crash that took place. In the event of any injuries, local authorities can also assist those who have been hurt on the scene. At-fault parties, however, are also required to remain on the scene following an accident. In the event that this requirement is not fulfilled, it could lead to serious legal consequences.

According to a recent local news report, a longtime local Washington, D.C. news anchor was arrested and charged after a weekend car accident. Local authorities reported that the man rear-ended another vehicle, which caused that vehicle to collide with a third car. Following the accident, no one was seriously injured. Police noted, however, that when they arrived, the news anchor attempted to leave the scene and subsequently failed a sobriety test. His breathalyzer test determined that his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit. After the crash, the anchor was charged with six misdemeanors relating to the collision, including driving under the influence, driving while impaired by alcohol, attempting to elude the police, attempting to drive while impaired, and two separate charges related to failing to stay on the scene of the accident. An investigation into further details surrounding the accident is ongoing.

Like other parts of the country, Washington, D.C. has specific rules and laws governing the responsibilities of drivers and parties after an accident. When someone flees the scene of an accident in D.C., local authorities may charge them with a misdemeanor. In hit-and-run situations, violators could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Following the formal reopening of Washington, D.C. last month, the city experienced a surge in nighttime activity. With bars and nightclubs back at full capacity, the city also seemed primed for an increase in drunk driving. According to a recent news source, around 3:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning following the city’s reopening, a man allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol crashed into a bus stop, killing a pedestrian.

Unfortunately, drunk driving remains common in the United States. In the nation’s Capital, a person is considered to be driving under the influence when she exhibits signs of cognitive impairment from alcohol and her blood alcohol content does not exceed .07 percent. According to recent statistics, driving while intoxicated results in a significant increase in the likelihood of a deadly motor vehicle accident like the one that happened in D.C. last month.

Reports say that the allegedly drunken driver was arrested and criminally charged with murder and driving under the influence. Although the resolution of the criminal case is an important step in the pursuit of justice, even if the driver is determined to be guilty, these criminal charges will not result in any meaningful financial compensation to the deceased victim or his family.

Earlier this month, a New York appellate court handed down an interesting decision regarding the duty physicians have to warn their patients that the medication they are providing them may affect their driving. Ultimately, the court determined that physicians do have a duty to those people other than the patient to warn the patient that the medication they were just administered could affect their driving.

The Facts of the Case

In the case, Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hospital, the plaintiff was a bus driver who was injured when another vehicle crossed a double-yellow line and collided with the plaintiff’s bus. That other driver was allegedly under the influence of narcotic medication that she was given while at the defendant hospital. The injured bus driver filed suit against the treating physicians as well as the hospital employing them.

At trial, the defendants asked the court for early dismissal, arguing that because they did not owe a duty to the third-party plaintiff they could not ultimately be held liable. The lower courts agreed and dismissed the case.

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Earlier this month, a man who crashed into a stopped car, killing all four people inside as well as his own passenger, was indicted on 28 counts, including manslaughter, reckless driving, and driving without a valid license. According to one local news source, the accident, which took place back in October of last year, occurred in Oxon Hill, Maryland, near where Livingston Road meets Livingston Terrace.

Evidently, an Acura with four people inside was stopped at a red light when the driver of another vehicle slammed into the back of the car. Police documents report that the man was traveling at about 70 miles per hour at the time of the collision. All four people inside the Acura were pronounced dead shortly after the accident. The passenger of the other driver’s vehicle was also pronounced dead.

Police suspected the driver of the other vehicle of being intoxicated at the time of the accident, and they conducted toxicology tests that came back showing that his blood-alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit. He was indicted in May of this year but evaded police until just last month. He is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

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It is common knowledge these days that drunk driving is a dangerous and irresponsible habit that can all too easily claim innocent lives. However, for a number of seemingly irrational reasons, drivers continue to engage in drunk driving despite the physical dangers to others as well as the potential criminal consequences they may face if convicted of a drunk-driving offense. According to one news report looking at a recent nationwide study, however, Washington D.C. ranks as the most lenient jurisdiction in the country for drunk drivers.

Evidently, the study was conducted by and took into account factors such as minimum jail time for first and second offenses, when a DUI becomes an automatic felony, the length of a license suspension following a DUI conviction, when an ignition interlock device is required, whether the jurisdiction uses sobriety checkpoints, and how much the fines and costs are relating to a conviction.

The researchers conducting the study assigned a numerical value to each factor, ultimately coming up with a final “score.” The higher the number, the stricter the jurisdiction is on drunk drivers. Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. ranked as follows:

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Last year, two young women were killed in a drunk-driving accident on the Sawgrass Expressway in Florida. According to one news report by the Washington Post, the accident occurred when a drunk driver began traveling down the Expressway the wrong way, ultimately colliding head-on with another car. The evidence suggested that she was traveling at 80 miles per hour.

While the police were conducting their investigation into the accident, they discovered that not only was the driver who caused the fatal accident drunk, but also her blood-alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit. Additionally, minutes before the fatal accident she had tweeted “2 drunk 2 care.” Those who had the chance to view the woman’s social media sites before they were removed have told reporters that the woman was a self-proclaimed “pothead princess” and had posted several other comments about her recreational drug and alcohol use.

Evidently, a Florida court recently sentenced the 22-year-old woman to 24 years in jail for her role in the fatal accident. Evidence presented to the court suggested that the woman drank two fishbowl-sized drinks before getting into her car that fateful night. At the time of the accident, the woman was underage and did not have a driver’s license.

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