When drugs or alcohol play a role in a Florida traffic accident, the tragedy seems worse knowing that it may have been avoided if both drivers were sober. For victims who must deal with physical injuries, emotional trauma and ongoing medical expenses, the tragedy is ongoing, at times well past any fines or jail time that the drunk driver received.
Today offers statistics that the number of drunk drivers on America’s roads is nearly 300,000. Additional data says that, by the time a drunk driver is arrested, he or she has already driven drunk an estimated 80 times. Still more data says that two-thirds of the overall U.S. population will be part of a drunk driving crash at some point in their life. Finally, 50 to 75 percent of DUI drivers will drive drunk again, whether or not their license has been suspended.
Anti-drunk driving advocates call for tougher penalties for repeat offenders. At the least, they say, DUI repeaters should have an ignition lock device on their car. By requiring drivers to take a breath test before turning over the engine, the decision to drive drunk is taken out of the offender’s hands.
This device may help prevent cases such as one South Dakota driver who has pleaded guilty to 16 separate DUI instances; he received two years in prison for his last conviction. Another driver in Minnesota has 27 DUI convictions but is free today.
Closer to home is a case covered by the Miami Herald, which reports that a West Miami man convicted of DUI has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. He ran a red light while drunk and drugged on cocaine and crashed into a 34-year-old man who received significant brain injuries, extensive nerve damage to one side of his face and broken bones; he is now unable to work.
If not for the prostitute riding in the passenger seat, the drunk driver may never have been caught. Prosecutors credit her with calling the police, leading them to the driver’s home and testifying in his prosecution. He had 20 convictions prior to the accident, 11 for cocaine and one each for burglary and grand theft auto.
While the driver is safely behind bars, the victim is looking at a lifetime of pain from nerve damage, continuing issues due to brain trauma and an uncertain future. In cases such as this, the victim must find a way to pick up the pieces and move forward.
If you have been injured in a DUI-related accident, you have the right to pursue a favorable resolution of your case. If you feel that you may have a basis for a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering.