Justia Lawyer Rating
Taos Badge
Litigator Awards Badge
Public Justice Member Badge
Million Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
Top 40 under 40 badge
Top 100 badge
Pound Civil Justice Institute

Drunk Driving Wrecks

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
  • Paralysis
  • 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.

Client Reviews
Bruce L. Scheiner and his team were the most friendly people I've ever met they genuinely cared about me... I highly recommend them Brooke Krause
I was really satisfied with services I received. Bruce is not only an attorney, but like family. He got me three times what I thought I would receive and was always there when I needed an answer on something. I'd say he is the best attorney I have dealt with in my 68 years. Harry Zulauf
I found working with the BLS firm to be a very good experience. They kept me informed on my case, answered all my questions, and were prompt when I needed assistance. Wendy Walker
I was in an accident and BLS was very helpful and gave a lot of support. If I had any questions, it was just a phone call away. Everyone in the office is very nice and helpful. Celeste Thompson
We had a wonderful experience with everyone here. The staff and attorneys were friendly, knowledgeable, and compassionate. They inquired about our injuries and our recovery. I would highly recommend their services! Heather Bair Daniels
I have nothing but good things to say about this law firm. I can honestly say that I am very satisfied with their work and my end results. I would absolutely recommend these set of attorneys to anyone. Thank you guys for all the hard work! Merida McDonald
BLS was incredibly helpful with my case, even during the hard challenging periods of my case Bruce & PJ were always just a call away. Even though they couldn't answer my call at that direct moment, they ALWAYS made a point to call me back. The staff at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner were always helpful and friendly, if they didn't have the answer they would always call me back with what I needed to know. Robert Drawdy
I was in a car accident and I seen his Advertisement on TV and I was very impressed of how kind and caring he really is to others and I called them and they took my case and they were very caring and understanding .. they were right on top of everything from being to end and the staff that works in the Fort Myers office were very friendly I would recommend them to a friend or family member if in need of a attorney... Thank you for your services and you made me feel like part of your family. Christina Mauro