[profileleft][/profileleft]There is really no excuse at this point for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol or some other intoxicant. Not only is such a terrible decision counter to logic, but too many billions of dollars have been spent on DUI awareness. Many if not most of us have been in a position at one point or another where we may have wondered if we should drive. The best answer to that thought is that if there is any question, the response should be not to get behind the wheel. In several respects, these awareness efforts have yielded positive results.
On a national level, the number of fatal DUI accidents has dropped over the past 30-plus years. Unfortunately, that did not appear to be the case in San Diego in 2016, as the statistics regarding fatal DUI accidents did not move in a downward direction.
About Fatal DUI Accidents in San Diego in 2016
NBC 7 San Diego published a story recently that contained statistics relating to fatal DUI accidents in San Diego. The San Diego Police Department provided these statistics. According to the police department, 11 fatal DUI accidents occurred in San Diego between January 1, 2016 and December 28, 2016. A total of 16 people died in those crashes. That represents the same number of fatal DUI accidents in San Diego as compared to 2015. One more person died in these accidents in 2016 as compared to 2015. These statistics concern crashes that occurred on city streets and highways. Those interested in reading the article can find it here.
California DUI Accident Statistics
Much like the statistics regarding fatal DUI accidents in San Diego, the statistics regarding California DUI accidents overall have also remained largely consistent over the past several years. The most recent calendar year available from the California Highway Patrol that deals with DUI accident statistics is from 2013. Below are the number of California DUI accidents that led to at least one injury or fatality for each of the previous five years that are available:
- 1,146 fatal DUI accidents
- 17,976 DUI accidents causing at least one injury
- 972 fatal DUI accidents
- 16,884 DUI accidents causing at least one injury
- 1,017 fatal DUI accidents
- 16,568 DUI accidents causing at least one injury
- 1,066 fatal DUI accidents
- 16,615 DUI accidents causing at least one injury
- 1,075 fatal DUI accidents
- 16,060 DUI accidents causing at least one injury
Generally speaking, fatal DUI accidents account for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities that occur in California.
United States DUI Accident Statistics
The statistics regarding DUI accidents in the United States reveal some similarities with those that exist in San Diego and in California. This parallel is most obvious with regards to percentages of overall traffic deaths, as approximately one-third of all of the people killed in car accidents in the United States die in crashes where alcohol or some other intoxicant is a factor. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, an average of 11,000 people per year lost their lives in fatal DUI accidents between the years 2003 and 2012.
Reasons People Drive While Intoxicated
Despite the big-picture downturn in fatal DUI accidents over the past 30-plus years, the numbers appear to have plateaued recently for the most part. What has remained the same is the list of reasons that people who have admitted to driving while impaired give for these poor decisions. Examples of the rationales used by those who have driven when they shouldn’t have include:
- They don’t believe they are as intoxicated as they actually are.
- People feel confident that they can still drive effectively.
- Motorists feel familiar with the route they are going to take.
- Some don’t want to deal with coming out to fetch their vehicle the next day.
- They are already close to home.
Of course, none of these excuses make any sense or justify driving while intoxicated. Clearly, the fact that alcohol and other intoxicants cloud a person’s judgment also plays a factor in many people deciding to get behind the wheel.
Fatal DUI Accidents in San Diego and Your Legal Rights
Anyone who loses a loved one in a DUI accident is suddenly forced to deal with a tragedy. There is no greater loss than the loss of life, and surviving family members are often unaware of what to do if they learn that a family member has been killed by a drunk driver. Clearly, people who drive while intoxicated and cause a crash that kills someone will face serious legal consequences from the criminal justice system.
While a person who causes this terrible situation can and usually does face these consequences, he or she could also face liability in the form of a California wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are difficult to handle without professional legal help for many reasons, including:
- People are already grieving the sudden loss of a loved one.
- The defense will work to avoid as much liability as possible with skilled defense attorneys.
- The laws regarding California wrongful death are complicated.
- Understanding how to quantify damages in wrongful death cases requires skill and experience.
Basically, most people who lose a loved one in this manner are not in a position to handle the enforcement of their legal rights alone.
How a San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
If you have lost someone you love because of an impaired driver, you need to obtain the help of San Diego car accident lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of grieving clients for more than a decade.
Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.