Drunk Driving Wrecks
- 4 in 10 fatal Florida car accidents involve a drunk driver.
- Nationwide, 1 in 3 fatal accidents involve a drunk driver.
- More than 10,000 people a year are killed in drunk driving accidents nationwide.
- 1 in 10 of the nation’s drunk driving accidents occurs in Florida.
- MADD reports Florida has more than 108,000 motorists convicted of three or more DUIs.
Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.
Few law firms have taken as proactive approach as Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, when it comes to combating the senseless tragedy of drunk driving accidents in Southwest Florida.
Bruce and Cheryl Scheiner have been personally recognized for their work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the firm supports local law enforcement efforts at sobriety checkpoints as well as being a sponsor of the Lee County Sheriff’s Mobile Eyes Campaign, which offers a reward to motorists who report suspected drunk drivers.
For more than 40 years the firm has been dedicated to fighting for the rights of families devastated by the tragic accidents that too often occur as the result of a driver who climbs behind the wheel after having too much to drink. During four decades of advocacy, the firm has handled some of Southwest Florida’s most high-profile drunk driving crashes.
Our Fort Myers drunk driving accident lawyers have the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of such cases – from media management in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, to assembling all of the expert witnesses and legal and medical professionals necessary to win at trial.
While great strides have been made in recent years, make no mistake about it: Florida drunk driving accidents remain the deadliest threat on the road. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports as many as 1,000 motorists are killed in drunk driving accidents on Florida roads each year – or as many as 3 per day.
In all, a staggering 40 percent of all fatal accidents in Florida involve a drunk driver.
Drunk driving accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere in Southwest Florida are incredibly complex cases. The at-fault driver is typically facing simultaneous criminal prosecution, which can result in prison time and a reduced means to pay a judgment. And insurance companies understand the liability and typically assign an experienced legal team to the defense. In fact, it is not unusual for an insurance company to offer a quick settlement – even telling a victim that the offer is for the available policy limits.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, each member of our staff is dedicated to aggressively pursuing justice on behalf of the victims of drunk driving accidents. Don’t sign any paperwork and don’t accept any payment without contacting our office for legal advice. We will immediately make a team available to meet with you – at our office, or even in your home or hospital room.
Our Cape Coral drunk driving accident attorneys are dedicated to the proposition that accident victims deserve immediate access to high-quality legal representation. And you’ll pay us nothing unless we win.
800-646-1210 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice
Anytime vehicles collide, there is the potential for serious injury.
However, at Associates at Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our drunk driving injury lawyers know crashes involving drunk drivers tend to result in a greater severity of injuries and a higher likelihood of death. One reason for this is that while sober drivers will instinctively take evasive action to avoid or lessen the impact, drunk drivers often fail to react sufficiently (if at all) to mitigate the severity of the collision.
By the time an impaired driver realizes he is in danger, it is often too late to execute any meaningful evasive action. This is why accident reconstruction experts can often tell almost immediately whether a crash involved a drunk driver: The tire tracks and skid marks are either short or nonexistent.
It’s therefore no surprise that drunk driving accounts for one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., despite the fact that impaired drivers represent a relatively small portion of motorists.
In Florida, alcohol-related crashes claim more than 500 lives a year. About 30 die in drunk driving collisions in Lee County each year, 25 in Collier and more than a dozen in Charlotte County, according to local law enforcement statistics. Hundreds more sustained serious and permanent injuries.Drunk Driving and Slowed Reaction Time
Numerous studies have shown drivers who are impaired lack the physical capacity to react quickly enough to roadway dangers.
Researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio reported alcohol impairs a motorist’s ability to concentrate on driving-related tasks. These include:
- Vehicle speed
- Vehicle position
- Other traffic activity
- Tuning the radio
- Conversing with passengers
- Ability to interpret situations, signs, or other signals
Reaction time may be slowed by as much as 15 to 25 percent. Alcohol also clouds judgment in such a way that leaves a driver easily confused and impedes both fine and gross motor skills. Visual acuity may be slashed by up to 32 percent. Pupils become dilated, which results in a kind of tunnel vision and slows pupil response, which can create problems in responding to everything from traffic signals to oncoming headlights.
While a person can experience the dulling effects of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of just 0.02 percent, the average BAC of fatally injured drinking drivers is 0.16 percent, according to the NHTSA. A drunk driver is 385 times more likely to be involved in a single-vehicle crash than a sober driver.
The danger is multiplied exponentially when these drivers have additionally consumed cocaine, marijuana, or other mind-altering substances.
Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that most impaired drivers who kill someone on the road are repeat offenders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that motorists with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher involved in deadly crashes were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for DUI than drivers who were substance-free.
Revocation of driver’s licenses has proved ineffective in solving the problem. This is why many advocacy groups are pushing for ignition interlock requirements for first-time offenders. An ignition interlock device is a type of breathalyzer installed in a vehicle that will prevent the engine from starting if the driver’s breath sample exceeds a certain BAC. In Florida, it is up to the judge’s discretion whether to require the device for a first-time offender. It becomes mandatory with a second conviction.Costs Sustained by DUI Victims in Southwest Florida
The impact of these crashes is often lifelong. While a DUI arrest and conviction is undoubtedly costly for a defendant in terms of fines, fees, and even incarceration, the toll for that driver’s victims is usually far greater.
Researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland found the average DUI injury in Florida costs $154,000. Fatalities resulting from drunk driving, meanwhile, cost an average of $5.2 million – each.
Injuries sustained in drunk driving crashes are often catastrophic, extending far beyond the typical broken bones and bruises. DUI victims who survive have reported injuries including:
- Neck damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Permanent scarring
In many situations, victims never fully recover.
Victims of drunk drivers are entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering, while their spouses may be entitled to collect damages for loss of consortium.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driving accident in Southwest Florida, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. Offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte.