Drunk Driving Accidents
Every 50 minutes someone is killed by a drunk driver in the U.S. Approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities involve drunk drivers. In the state of Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol every 20 minutes.
Although the number of DWI and DUI cases in Bryan/College Station, Brazos County, have decreased, the sobering reality is that 10,000 lives are lost each year due to alcohol-fueled car crashes. Each one of these deaths is 100% preventable.
The intoxicating effects of alcohol
When alcohol is consumed it passes quickly through the lining of the stomach into the bloodstream where it suppresses the central nervous system (CNS), impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. The ability of any particular person to process alcohol is affected by the person’s gender, body weight, the number of drinks consumed, tolerance, and the amount of food consumed.
BAC of .08 g/dl and higher
At a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dl) and higher, a driver’s concentration, speed control, perception, signal detection, and visual search begin to be exponentially impaired. This is why, for example, most states have set the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle at .08 BAC, what is known as the per se violation of the Texas drunk driving law contained in §§ 49.01 and 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. However, regardless of BAC, a driver is deemed “intoxicated” when the driver lacks the “normal use” of his or her “mental or physical faculties.”
At 2x the legal limit, a driver’s ability to control the vehicle is substantially impaired; at that BAC, the driver lacks the ability to process the necessary visual and auditory information to safely operate a motor vehicle.
In our practice, we have handled cases where the drunk driver was 3x the legal limit and caused catastrophic injuries or death.
Types of legal claims that can be brought after a drunk driving crash
A person injured (or the statutory beneficiaries in the case of wrongful death) can initiate an action for:
- Negligence per se; (for violations of the applicable Texas Transportation Code statute(s), Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, the criminal statute dealing with intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses, and/or Sec. 2.02 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code);
- Gross negligence (an act or omission involving an extreme degree of risk coupled with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others);
- Intoxication assault or manslaughter (if the crash resulted in a death);
- Negligent entrustment against the vehicle owner;
- Respondent Superior (vicarious liability against an employer for negligent acts or omissions committed within the scope of the employment);
- Negligent hiring, training, supervision, or retention against the drunk driver’s employer; and/or
- Dram shop (a suit against the bar, restaurant, or other establishment for over-serving alcohol).
Typically, a person hurt by a drunk driver can seek compensatory (e.g., medical bills and lost wages) as well as exemplary damages (e.g., punitive damages designed to punish and deter grossly wrongful conduct).
Experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Bryan/College Station, TX
If you need a drunk driving accident lawyer in Bryan/College Station, contact Brian C. Gutierrez, PLLC for experienced representation.
We can help you build a strong case. We will obtain the crash report, conduct our own investigation, gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, coordinate with the police and prosecutor, and if necessary, file a lawsuit and subpoena records and video from the bar to prove the negligent driver was intoxicated when the crash occurred.
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas Department of Transportation, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).