Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accident

For years, safety advocates and law enforcement officials have emphasized the need for at least one person to serve as a designated driver and abstain from drinking alcohol in order to drive their friends home safely after a night (or day) out on the town.

While having a completely sober designated driver sounds great in theory, a new study conducted by the University of Florida claims that in practice the reality may be far different.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, finds that more than one in three designated drivers still drink and then drive. While a driver can still legally get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below 0.08, impairment for some can begin with a BAC as low as 0.02.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 Gainesville bar patrons over a three-month period. They asked those patrons if they had been tapped as the designated driver. If the patron said yes, researchers would ask permission to administer a breathalyzer test.

They found that 35 percent of the 165 participants who said they were designated drivers had consumed at least one drink. While half of the designated drivers registered a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.05, the other half registered above 0.05. The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that states lower the drunk driving BAC threshold from 0.08 to 0.05.
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Florida Drunk Driving LiabilityThe drunk driving victim attorneys at Farah & Farah have learned that a Brevard County jury has decided that a sports bar is responsible for a drunk driving crash that nearly killed a man and his two-year-old nephew.

The Crossroads Sports Bar was accused of serving alcohol to an underage woman. Upon leaving the bar, the woman got into her car and drove only about two miles before she ran off the road, continued across a lawn and hit the man and his nephew.

Fortunately, the child suffered no injuries when he was thrown from his uncle’s arms upon impact. The uncle was not so lucky and suffered serious injuries.
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FL DUI AccidentGiven the preponderance of drivers who have caused drunk driving accidents in Florida and been convicted for multiple DUI offenses, this probably comes as no surprise, but a new study suggests that motorists who are convicted of a DUI offense are at a higher risk of a lifelong struggle with risky drinking habits.

The study, conducted by the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, found that nearly half of the people who had been convicted of a DUI offense either continued to drink heavily, or had cut back or quit for awhile, but then went back to their old risky drinking behaviors. Not surprisingly, many of these people had high rates of alcohol or drug dependence or suffered from mental health problems.

Sandra C. Lapham, the study leader, said that the first DUI conviction is a “red flag” and that “it’s an opportunity to intervene.” She noted that court-mandated alcohol or drug dependence screening might be required for many first-time DUI offenders, but many can’t afford follow-up treatment or don’t believe they have a problem at all.
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Florida Drunk Driving ArrestDuring the recent holiday season, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) conducted a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to cut down on the number of alcohol-related traffic crashes.

The FHP has now released the initial results of that campaign. During the time period of December 16 through January 2, the FHP arrested about 500 for driving while intoxicated. At the same time, the FHP issued 36,000 citations across the state of Florida. Citations for drivers in specific cities have not yet been tabulated and released.

Fortunately, these campaigns seem to be working, as the number of citations were fewer than in 2010, however, the number of DUI arrests was up over the same holiday period.

The campaign runs nationally every year from December 16 through January 2. It’s organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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An article in The Tampa Tribune recently reported on the cost of a teen drinking party hosted by adults. On June 25, 2010, a Tampa couple, who lives in Dade City in Hillsborough County, allowed their 18-year-old son to host a drinking party for about 90 kids on a piece of property they own.

The Florida Highway Patrol report says two teenage girls, one 18 and the other 15, left the party around 2 a.m. in a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. The 18-year-old driver lost control of the car on Wire Road and hit a tree killing the 15-year-old passenger.

The deceased girl’s estate filed a lawsuit October 10 on behalf of the young teen’s 18-month-old son. The lawsuit was filed against the adult parents of the boy who hosted the party because the five acre property belonged to them.
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An interesting story out of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune about Florida’s DUI cases which have traditionally relied on the breath test machine, the Intoxilyzer 8000, to check whether or not a driver measures a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent, the legal limit for intoxication.

State officials never ran accuracy tests on the machines which have been in service since 2006, and now judges and attorneys have found the machines are miscalibrated, raising questions about whether thousands of DUI charges should stick.

This year, the machines are finally being checked and 40 percent have flunked in that they incorrectly measure the amount of breath flow. While an average person has a capacity of about five liters, the machines would measure up to 12 liters of breath, also increasing the reading on blood-alcohol levels. An accurate breath reading is supposed to be the key to obtaining a quality sample to test for DUI. Those who may have been wrongfully convicted of DUI have not been notified by the state, but the flawed machines have reportedly been recalibrated and put back into service.
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The Labor Day weekend will see increased enforcement by police officers in Hernando County as well as the rest of Florida in an effort to target and crackdown on impaired drivers. From Friday, September 2 at 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday, September 4, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Florida Highway Patrol will be in both marked and unmarked cars to keep drunk drivers off the road, reports Hernando Today.

Because of a stepped-up national effort during what is typically a holiday season of increased alcohol use, there will be a zero-tolerance policy toward driving under the influence. Instead of being given a citation and another chance, motorists could be arrested, charged with DUI, face jail time, a loss of a license, as well as higher insurance rates. Additionally, some will face the requirement of using ignition interlocks.
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A Jacksonville hookah bar has been named in a civil lawsuit by the family of a teenage girl who was killed by an underage drinker who had just left the bar. The collision happened around midnight November 14, 2010, when a 20-year-old US Navy sailor left the bar in Jacksonville, which had a reputation for serving underage drinkers. His car slammed into one being driven by a 19-year-old who was minutes away from her home to make her 12:30 a.m. curfew. The young man has been charged with DUI and vehicular homicide, which if convicted, can bring him 15 years in prison.

According to a story in First Coast News, before the crash, people on Facebook commented that the bar would serve underage drinkers. The sailor had a blood alcohol level of .204 – almost three times the legal limit for intoxication (0.08), according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). And the news station says the young man had just been released from rehab.

The teenage girl was planning to be a pharmacist. Her family says she was an organ donor and at least her death meant life for some other people.
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A judge in Tavaras has ruled that prosecutors can use evidence obtained from a blood test that indicates a well-known civic leader had been drinking vodka just before his pickup truck was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident in Mount Dora in October 2009. The ruling was issued on April 24, and included the right of prosecutors to show jurors a half-full bottle of vodka Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) troopers discovered on the floor of the truck, according to a report in The Orlando Sentinel.

Lawyers for the 48-year-old man argued that troopers needed a search warrant before retrieving the bottle. The pickup truck driver had twice the legal limit for intoxication when he broadsided the motorcycle of a 61-year-old postal worker in Mount Dora on Majestic Oak Drive. The motorcyclist had not been drinking, according to an autopsy.
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According to a report by Channel 4, a 22-year-old died and a 17-year-old was injured on Saturday, March 12, in a head-on collision in Clay County. The 17-year old teen was driving his Ford pickup on County Road 218 about 11:40 p.m., east of Courson Road, when he drifted into the oncoming lane and struck the other vehicle head-on. The driver of that car, a 22-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at the scene of the fatal Florida car crash. The pickup truck driver was taken to Shands Medical Center in Jacksonville and is in serious condition. The accident victim was wearing her seat belt while the teen, who caused the collision, was not. The FHP indicates that he was driving while intoxicated and charges will likely be filed.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the friends and family of the young woman killed through no fault of her own.
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