Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July, barbeques, summer vacations… summer is the best time of year for beautiful weather and fun holiday weekends. But as we prepare our best cannonball and dust off our grills, the police are preparing for summer as well. They are sharpening their skills for identifying drunk drivers – and if you want to stay safe, you should too.
Earlier this month, Florida Public Safety Institute funded a lab course that gives both members of Florida law enforcement and residents a chance to challenge their knowledge regarding drinking, driving, and blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. Some participants were given drinks, while others were tasked with using the course to monitor signs of drunk driving.
What’s the point of all this? The course was designed to prepare law enforcement for one of the most dangerous times of the year.
Generally speaking, holiday weekends are considered one of the worst times to drive. Add to that the fact that many kids are out of school for the summer and lots of people are celebrating with parties and barbecues and you have a recipe for disaster – more people on the road and more people who are likely to have been drinking.
In Florida we have an even higher risk of sharing the road with drunk drivers because so many people like to vacation here during the summer months. Tourists can lose track of the drinks they consume, and may not take advantage of ridesharing or public transportation while in a new location.
Beyond this, all drivers here simply take many risks during the summer months. The rate of drivers who reported driving after drinking too much is .2% higher than the national average. And those risks have consequences.
Driving under the influence accounts for over 1 in 4 traffic deaths. From 2003-2012, over 8,000 people were killed in crashes where a drunk driver was present. Additionally, over 40,000 DUI charges were issued in the past year, and over 26,000 charges resulted in convictions.
How You Can Identify Drunk Driving
Identifying drunk drivers is not just a skill beneficial for law enforcement. Every time you drive, especially during the summer months, you put yourself at risk. But if you can identify risky drivers – including drivers who have been drinking, you give yourself a better chance of avoiding an accident. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Quick acceleration/deceleration
- Neglecting to use headlights
Remember, it only takes a .08 BAC to be charged with driving under the influence. In the course mentioned above, a participant claimed she felt completely safe driving – even though her BAC was above the legal limit.
Of course, she didn’t know this – but that’s the point. Driving after any amount of drinks is a risk. Someone can feel like they are perfectly in control and still cause an accident because their senses have been dulled.
Sadly, even with heavy consequences for drunk driving, some drivers will still hit the road, not knowing they are above the legal limit. Police officers cannot catch all of them, and unfortunately, some will get into accidents due to their reckless driving.
Often, when a drunk driver takes the risk of driving and gets into an accident, they suffer less damage or injury than more sober victims. If you have been involved in an auto accident in which the driver was drunk, you may be entitled to compensation due to the driver’s negligence. Contact a personal injury lawyer today for a free review of your case.
About The Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.