Drunk Driving Accidents Archives - The Law Office of WT Johnson Blog
Simply a single drink can partially impair some people, and nationally the level of awareness and the criminal penalties have been heightened considerably over the last 25 years. Current Texas law states that having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the threshold for legally operating a motor vehicle. Drivers found guilty of operating a vehicle (OVI) under the influence of alcohol face penalties including fines, license suspension, jail time, legal fees and costly future insurance premiums. Those whose occupation is linked to operating a vehicle can potentially lose their job as a result of a conviction.
Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving has kept awareness of this issue at the forefront. A driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated and will be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Keep in mind that you can still be considered under the influence if slightly below the 0.08 threshold if other tests suggest that you are impaired. Read the rest »
Texas has one of the highest rates of drunk driving accidents in the entire country, and many of these accidents occur in Dallas County. If you are involved in such an accident, the first thing to do is seek immediate medical attention, especially if you are injured or bleeding. Make sure that someone has called for emergency assistance, or do so yourself, and be very careful about any neck or head injuries.
Once medical concerns are addressed, be sure to contact local law enforcement and wait for them to arrive on the scene. If you are the one who calls the police and you can see that the other driver is drunk, then be sure to mention that during the call. If the other driver attempts to leave the scene, try to get their license plate number and a description of their vehicle. As long as you are not injured, take pictures of the scene and any damage you can see, also be sure to get a copy of the police report filed for the accident. Read the rest »
The severity of injuries commonly suffered in Dallas drunk driving accidents depends a great deal on the nature of the accident. If someone is struck while not in a vehicle, then serious injuries and fatality can result from the driver’s recklessness. It is more common that such an accident involves a second vehicle, though injuries from these accidents can be very serious and even life-threatening.
Every 30 minutes, there is a person who is killed because of drunk driving. This translates to about 16,000 fatalities annually – all because of alcohol and a negligent driver who chose to violate the law. Apart from the fatalities, there are injuries that occur every other minute.
The numbers speak for themselves. Drunk driving is a major problem for many motorists and pedestrians in the road today. You can be driving as defensively as you can, and still be involved in an accident that not only damages properties, but can also claim lives. Here are some information about drunk driving that you may find useful.
Spotting a drunk driver
If you’re driving late at night (or any other time when there’s somebody drunk driving on the road), watch out for these signs to stay away from a potential disaster:
- The car quickly accelerates and decelerates
- The car tailgates you, or the vehicle in front of him/her
- The car weaves and zigzags across the road
- The car is driving in a lane or area that he or she is not supposed to
- The car almost hits an object, another vehicle, or the center island
- The car immediately stops for no particular reason
- The car drifts in and out of lanes
- The car signals in a way that is not consistent with his/her actions
- The car does not respond immediately to stop signs and other traffic signals
- The car stays between two lanes
- The car drives with the headlights during the day, or no headlights during night
- The car swerves
- The car may be going below the speed limit
- The car abruptly turns
- The car ends up in the opposite or the wrong side of the road
These are only some of the many signs that drunk drivers show. If you see one and feel that he or she is a danger to you or to others on the road, please take note of the following:
- Call the local highway patrol or police
- Take note of the car’s license plate
- Inform the authorities that you suspect that the car is being driven by a drunk person
- Provide your location
It is also a little known fact that Alaska is the state with the highest drunk driving incidents. Many attribute it to the cold weather which makes drinking attractive. As such, it is imperative to be careful and attentive – even if you’re driving in Alaska or anywhere else in the world.
It has always been said that alcohol impairs an individual’s vision. However, recent studies are leaning more on the fact that what makes drunk driving dangerous is that alcohol alters a person’s depth of perception instead – seeing things at a certain distance which is not where they truly are.
Many of us believe that a ‘few drinks’ could do no harm. However, it is also undeniable that a ‘few’ could turn to more. An individual’s chances of being a road hazard dramatically increases after the second beer. If you just finished a six-pack, the chances that you will be involved in a drunk driving incident increases by as much as 44%.
If you or a loved one have been victims of drunk driving, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of W.T. Johnson so we can take a look at your case.
Driving while impaired refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, and/or alcohol. Driving while impaired is one of the deadliest, and unfortunately, most committed crimes in the United States. Every day, at least 30 people die in alcohol-related accidents. That’s 30 too many. The annual cost of alcohol or drug-related crashes estimates to around $51 billion. If that doesn’t put things in perspective, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), three out of every 10 people in the US will be involved in an alcohol-related car accident in their life time.
Laws Against Impaired Driving
All states have laws against impaired driving, more specifically driving while under the influence of alcohol. Sanctions against driving while under the influence of alcohol include license revocations, ignition interlocks, as well as sobriety checkpoints. Driving while under the influence of drugs is a little harder to detect, especially because there is no national standard to gage the measure of drug impairment. Most states have a drug per se law that prohibits drivers to have any trace of a drug in their system while operating a motor vehicle. They also train dogs to help them sniff out drugs and identify drug-impaired drivers.
Who is at Risk?
The risk of being involved in an alcohol or drug related car accident is much greater for young people than it is for older people, at any blood alcohol concentration level (BAC). Of the people with a BAC of 0.08 percent involved in a fatal crash, one out of three were between the ages of 21 to 24 years old, the next two largest age groups were those between the ages of 25 to 34, and 35 to 44 years old.
Motorcyclists are another group at risk of being involved in a drug or alcohol-related accident. Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists that died in an alcohol-related accident were over the age of 40. Lastly, people who have previously received a DWI are at risk of being convicted again. Drivers who were pulled over with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher were four times more likely to have a previous DWI conviction.
The unfortunate thing about driving while impaired accidents, is that they all could have been prevented. Effective measures to prevent future accidents and deaths from impaired driving include:
- Actively enforcing BAC laws and zero tolerance laws for those under the age of 21.
- Immediately suspending the driver’s license of those who drive under the influence.
- Setting up sobriety checkpoints more often.
- Reaching out to your community about the dangers of driving while under the influence.
It’s also important that individuals remain responsible for their own actions. Safety tips include:
- Designating a sober driver at the beginning of the night.
- Don’t let others drive impaired.
- If you have been drinking, take a cab home.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of WT Johnson immediately. We take drunk driving very seriously and encourage you to seek retribution as soon as possible. Contact our expert drunk driving attorneys today and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
A “dram shop” is technically any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are consumed and/or sold. Some examples of this would be a restaurant or a bar. A dram shop law/act holds the establishment liable for any injuries that resulted from someone who has consumed alcohol at the establishment. For example, if the person is drinking at a restaurant and is injured during a driving accident after leaving the establishment.
In order for the establishment to be held liable under a dram shop law/act, it must be proven that the location sold alcohol to a person that was visibly or obviously intoxicated, or to the point of obvious intoxication, and that the serving of alcohol was the specific cause of the person’s injuries. An establishment can call a taxi cab for an intoxicated person, if need be, which can help take liability off of them. Dram shop laws may also cover selling alcohol to minors who are intoxicated.
Dram Shop Law in Texas
Texas Dram Shop Act is in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, which holds any establishment liable for selling or serving alcohol to any persons who are visibly or obviously intoxicated. The person suing the bar or restaurant must be able to prove that they were obviously intoxicated when they were sold the alcoholic beverage. Minors are also able to sue business establishes for any injuries they incurred from the sale of alcohol. Minors may only do this if they were intoxicated when they were sold the alcoholic beverages, and their injuries came as a direct result from this consumption.
Recent Texas case law has interpreted Dram Shop Acts in a different light about the amount of liability that businesses may be sued for. In Texas, alcohol selling establishments, who are licensed, may only be held liable for the portion of the responsibility that a jury will assign to it. The driver will be held liable for the portion of injury that they themselves may have caused by consuming alcohol and then driving. Texas takes DWI’s very seriously, and it is clear that they believe that not only the restaurant/bar is at fault. If the driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a car, they must take some responsibility for their actions. The percentage of liability is calculated using a variety of factors and procedures, including: whether or not other people were injured in the accident.
In Texas the “Dram Shop” will only be a potential source of recovery for injured plaintiffs, and there is no guarantee that the shop will be held entirely liable, or liable at all depending on the circumstances. Dram shop owners are not automatically liable for injuries by a patron sustained as a result of their serving alcohol.
Hiring An Experienced Attorney
Whether you are the injured person, a family member or loved one is the injured person, or you are a dram shop operator, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney if you are involved in a dram shop claim. These claims can be complicated and with the help of an attorney, you may be able to successfully obtain compensation or refute a dram shop law claim. If you have any questions about Texas Dram Shop laws, please do not hesitate to contact us, at the Law Offices of W.T. Johnson.
South by Southwest is an Austin, Texas famous festival that thousands of people flock to every year. The festival takes place in March and has interactive, music and film events for people to attend. There is an abundance of free concerts, food and alcohol being given to festival goers daily, and the week is typically filled with copious amounts of fun. Unfortunately this year, tragedy struck the festival that resulted in the death of two and leaving 23 others injured. A drunk driver intentionally drove into a large crowd of people and caused the city of Austin and the SXSW festival a large amount of grief.
The Responsible Party
Roshad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen, Texas was the driver that wreaked havoc all over the streets of Austin early Thursday morning. A police officer attempted to pull over Owens’ 2012 gray Honda Civic, around a checkpoint that had been set up, for suspected drunk driving. After Owens saw the police lights he immediately attempted to flee the scene due to him having several outstanding warrants for his arrest already in place. In the past, he has also had a drunk driving charge previously when he was 19 years old. After being detained it was reported that Owens blew a .114, when the legal limit in Texas is .08.
The subject is now facing 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle and 2 counts of capital murder. He could be facing other charges as well, for some of the victims remain in critical condition. Owens is still in the custody of the Austin Police Department, where he has remained since the incident. His bail was posted at $3,000,000.00. There has been no attorney listed for Owens at this time.
Details of the Accident
During the early hours of Thursday morning, the incident occurred around E. 10th and Red River Street. The police had set up their checkpoint in hopes to stop drunk drivers, which can be common when there are large festivals like SXSW. Once Owen understood what was happening, he fled the area as soon as possible after seeing the police lights. Owens then quickly drove through a nearby Shell parking lot, and turned on to the one-way 9th street, driving against the flow of traffic. He then plowed through a temporary barrier that was set up to block off a specific area of the House of Vans Show at the Mohawk venue downtown. After this, he then bulldozed through a crowd of people, injuring many and killing two.
A statement from Austin Police Chief, Art Acevedo said that after the crowd of event goers was impacted, Owens ultimately crashed his vehicle to the point where he could no longer continue and continued to flee the scene on foot. He was captured by the police through the use of a stun gun, and was detained and taken into custody. This is where he currently remains.
Though the event was a tragedy, police are thankful because they had just recently pushed most of the crowd back on to the sidewalk to make way for a fire lane. If they had not done this, many more people would have remained in the street once Owens decided to speed through the street. It is safe to say that many more than 25 people would have been affected.
The city of Austin and the Austin Police Force are asking the festival goers for help. They need as much information on the incident as they can possibly get so they are asking for any eyewitnesses to step forward. They are also looking for any video taken of the incident or any photographic evidence of such. Any information at all can help.
If you or a family member has been injured in the SXSW accident, or a similar incident involving a drunk or negligent driver, contact the offices of WT Johnson today. We will get you what you rightfully deserve.
If you would like to discuss your claim with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to call us at (214) 231-0544. We’re ready to help you, and won’t rest until you receive the settlement you deserve.