As Dangerous as Driving Drunk…

Photo credit: Runs With Scissors via Interior Design / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Runs With Scissors via Interior Design / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Have you ever nodded off while driving?

If you answer yes – you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1-in-25 people nod off behind the wheel every 30 days.

That’s as many as 8.4 million drivers a year that fall asleep while driving.

8.4 million people. And that’s just the number of people willing to admit they have nodded off.

What’s more the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for 83,000 car accidents, over 35,000 of which result in serious injuries and almost 1,000 in deaths…

What’s going on?

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Driving Risks and the Holidays

Drinking and driving dangers during the holidaysAs great as these days are – there is an unavoidable fact about the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

It’s the deadliest stretch of time on our nation’s roads.

Why?

You know the answer – more drivers are driving under the influence.

On average, 728 people die or are injured in drunk driving car accidents per day during this season. Per day.

Did you know that daily alcohol violations also rise by more than 30% during this time of the year.

And then there is the sheer volume of traffic and distracted drivers on the roads during the holiday season. Dangerous even without drugs or alcohol.

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New Drunk Driving Laws Take Effect

One of the most vexing problems facing law enforcement is that of drunk driving.

How big is the problem?

There are close to 235 billion car trips taken every year in the U.S.   On average, one out of every two-thousand trips are made by drivers under the influence of alcohol.

And one out of every three fatal car crashes involves an intoxicated driver. In fact, every 53 minutes in America – someone is killed in a drunk driving car accident.

Thanks in part to the lobbying efforts of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), states, including Connecticut, have moved aggressively in the last decade to cut the number of intoxicated drivers on the road.

Just what qualifies as “intoxicated” under Connecticut law?

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Do You Know the Three Ds of Preventable Accidents?

Do you know the three Ds in driving?

There’s drunken driving…

There’s distracted driving…

And there’s drowsy driving.

The third one gets way too little attention from government agencies and the public and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to change that.

Did you know that it is estimated that anywhere from 2 to 20% of annual fatal car accidents are caused by driver drowsiness or fatigue. Pretty big range – right? That’s part of the problem – experts believe the problem is a large one – but research on the topic is mostly old and fairly scarce.

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Had Too Much To Drink? Smartphone Apps Can Tell You.

 

From allowing us to turn lights on and off remotely  to getting emails on the run, as well as checking the internet, the weather, tracking our diets, the number of steps we’re walking each day, how much sleep we get – smartphones are literally changing the way we live our lives.

Did you know there are smartphone applications that even make it possible to know if you or a friend have had too much to drink before you or they get behind the wheel of a car?  These applications generally utilize sensor technology that can measure blood alcohol as accurately as police breathalyzers.

Continue reading “Had Too Much To Drink? Smartphone Apps Can Tell You.” »

Did You Know This Sad Fact About Fatal Car Accidents Involving Children?

Drunk driving kills children too. Stop drinking and driving.Drunk driving kills.  That’s a fact.

But did you know that over two-thirds of all car crashes involving a drunk driver that kill a child passenger are caused by the intoxicated driver of the vehicle carrying the child?  Two thirds… Hundreds of children die in the U.S. each year from this cause.

Which states record the greatest number of deadly crashes involving intoxicated drivers as a percentage of the population?  All states have a problem but North Dakota and New Mexico are the worst.

Investigators find that drivers who are intoxicated with drugs or alcohol and carrying a young child, not only drive dangerously but also often fail to properly buckle that child into their safety seats – turning them into an unprotected projectile in an accident.

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Should Connecticut Ban Repeat Drunk Drivers From Driving For Life?

More than 300 people are killed and over 6,000 injured every year on New York’s highways from alcohol-related crashes.   Well, the State of New York has just put new regulations in place, the result of which will keep an estimated 20,000 drivers convicted of alcohol related driving offenses off the road permanently or for a more extended period of time.

Should Connecticut follow suit?

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New Data on Teen Drivers Reveals Dangerous Trends

A study just published in the journal Pediatrics shows that close to 50%50%_of_teenagers_admit_to_texting_while_driving. of all U.S. high school students text and drive.  This extremely dangerous habit is known to increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal car accidents significantly in adults.  With teens – the risk is even higher.

The study looked at responses from 8,500 high school students who were asked in a national survey if they texted while driving in the last month.   Forty-four percent said they had done so on one or more days and 25% of that number said they text while driving on a daily basis.  Male teenage drivers were the worst offenders as were older teens.

Teens who reported texting while driving also admitted to other risky behaviors including driving under the influence or driving without a safety belt.  It is a known fact that texting while driving can impair a driver’s abilities much like alcohol.

A number of national experts have expressed concern about the large percentage of teens texting and have asked parents to get more involved in supervising their teenage drivers.   Here are a few suggestions as to how you can help keep your teenager safe:

  • Never use your cell phone while driving for any purpose.  Children learn from the example you set.
  • Explicitly set rules about driving and cell phone use – with penalties if those rules are ever violated.
  • Explain to your teenager that cell phone use and driving can be a deadly combination – putting them and their young friends at grave risk.
  • Give them details.  Help them understand that taking their eyes off the road even for a few  seconds can cause a car accident. And explain to them that in addition to hitting another car – they might hit a pedestrian, a cyclist, or swerve and hit a tree or guardrail.

 

Now what can you do to protect yourself from drivers who text?   When you drive – wherever you drive, watch carefully for what is called “car drift”.  Car drift is when the car ahead of you or coming towards you is meandering on the road and not holding a straight or steady line.  A number of things can cause drift.  The two most common are impairment from alcohol or drugs – and texting/cell phone use.  If you see a car drifting, be prepared to take immediate defensive action – either by creating space with the car in front of you or by pulling off to the side of the road if the offending car is moving in your direction.  You can often tell if the cause of drift is from cell phone use by looking at the other driver’s head.  If he or she is looking down rather than at the road in front of them – they are likely using a cell phone.

If you or a loved one are ever the victim of a car accident caused by a careless driver in Connecticut, it is important to gather all the information you can and then call a qualified Connecticut car accident lawyer.  A knowledgeable Connecticut car accident lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled thousands of car accident cases in Connecticut over our more than 55 years serving the people of this state.  Our car accident lawyers have received significant local and national recognition for our handling of car accident cases including:

  • Top listing in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms” and much more (for more on our honors and awards, click here).

If you would like a free consultation with one of our accident lawyers, contact us today.  There is no obligation of any kind.

 

 

Is Your Designated Driver Really Sober?

We have all heard the infomercials – “don’t drink andIs_your_designated_driver_really_sober? drive and make sure you have a designated (sober) driver if you’re going to be drinking while at a party or a restaurant”.  Drinking and driving kills.  We all know it.  It’s a fact.  Not a year goes by without reading about someone in the area who was badly injured or killed by a drunk driver.

Well there is a new study out by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. It shows that over 30% of designated drivers surveyed drink even though they are “designated” not to drink and breath tests showed 20% blew higher than a .05% on a breathalyzer test – enough to impair driving skills.

While the population studied for this report was generally homogenous, over 1,000 people were interviewed for the study with researchers stopping people leaving bars near a college in the southeastern part of the U.S.  “It is noteworthy that nearly 40% of DDs did not refrain from alcohol use,” the researchers wrote. “Of the 165 self-identified DDs, only 65% had a .00 g/210 L BrAC reading.”

So what can you do to insure your safety if you are going to need a designated driver?  Here are a number of steps to consider:

1. Choose the designated driver before drinking begins.

2. Be aware that a designated driver who is a friend may face behaviors in the car that he or she cannot control making the ride more dangerous.

3. Choose the designated driver fairly – distributing the burden to different people at different times.

4. Make sure you choose an experienced, seasoned driver.

5. Ask your designated driver about his or her driving record – and make sure they have a valid drivers license!

If you are ever the victim of a car accident with a drunk driver, call a qualified Connecticut car accident lawyer.  A knowledgeable Connecticut car accident lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of car accident cases over our more than 55 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our attorneys have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases including:

  • Top listing in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms”
  • Top listing by Martindale-Hubbell as a “New England Top Rated AV Preeminent® Law Firm.
  • Admission of five of our personal injury lawyers as members in the very prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  The American College is a professional society of Fellows who become members only by invitation, with admission limited to experienced, outstanding trial lawyers who are unquestionably and eminently qualified as actively engaged trial lawyers.  Only 1% of all trial lawyers in any state are offered admission as members to the College.
  • Listing in New England Super Lawyers published by Connecticut Magazine.  Less than 5% of attorneys in the New England states receive this honor
  • Lifetime Achievement awards from the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association
  • Board Certification by the National Board of Trial Advocacy

We have a great team dedicated to car accident cases.    Our offices are in Hartford but we are available to meet with you in your home or office if that is easier for you.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.