Impaired driving often has dire consequences, and it is a serious problem in San Francisco, much as it is a problem nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 28 people in the United States die every day in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these avoidable deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data — but still, 10,142 people lost their lives.
Alcohol is only one of many causes of impaired driving, which the most dangerous are:
Notwithstanding the “crackdown” on drunk driving that began in the 1990s, alcohol remains a leading cause of about one-third of the fatal car accidents in California. That proportion was generally unchanged since before the crackdown began.
Most people are legally intoxicated after three or four drinks. The nationwide .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level is intended to deter people who are legally intoxicated to drive, but that does not mean those who are below that level are okay to drive. Often, they are just as impaired as those above that legal limit of alcohol in one’s body to drive safely. A DUI charge in California is conclusive evidence of impairment.
People driving after they have taken or injected drugs and before those drugs wear off is common in California, if not more than drunk driving. Impairing drugs include marijuana, prescription pills, illegal street drugs, like cocaine or heroin, and some legal over-the-counter drugs with drowsiness as a side effect.
Unlike drunk driving, when impairment can be established simply by showing evidence of the blood alcohol level, there is no scientifically accepted test to determine if one was driving while drugged. As a result, most San Francisco car accident lawyers must rely on the ordinary negligence rules to make a case for drugged driving, if the drugged driver is responsible for causing an accident that results in injuries.
Driving while drowsy has a similar effect as alcohol on the body and brain. Being continuously awake for 18 hours produces a result similar to a .05 BAC level, which is above the legal limit for underage or commercial drivers in California.
Many people have medical conditions such as epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions that can suddenly cause loss of consciousness. Should that happen while the person is driving, then the results could be just as catastrophic as those caused by someone impaired with alcohol or drugs.
With the advent of technology and people’s addiction to their phones, hand-held cell phones have become dangerous weapons, as these gadgets invariably cause distractions that often lead to impaired driving and catastrophic accidents.
At the Law Office of Scott Righthand, P.C., we have experienced lawyers who can help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve if you have been injured in an accident involving an impaired driver. Contact us and schedule your free consultation today.
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