Roadways in Salt Lake City are often flooded with local traffic and out of town visitors. Accidents are likely to happen when drivers are distracted on the road, speed through traffic, or drive recklessly.
Car crashes are already scary situations. They are made worse when one or more drivers are driving their vehicle while impaired. Drunk driving is a no-win situation for everyone involved: the victims, the drunk driver, law enforcement, and bystanders who are at risk of injury.
If you or a family member has experienced injury in a drunk driving crash, there may be some legal options available. You need to reach out to a Salt Lake City car crash lawyer at Siegfried & Jensen to discuss your case and schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
Drunk Driving Statistics
Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 20 people in the United States die in car crashes involving a drunk driver. There is at least one death every 50 minutes, showing how much of a risk impaired driving has become for other motorists on the road.
In 2016, around 10,497 individuals have died in accidents with a drunk driver. This is a total of 28 percent of all fatal car crashes nationally. In the same year, there were over 1 million drivers who were arrested for driving while intoxicated, either due to drugs or alcohol.
Nationally, Utah has a low rate of intoxicated drivers. Sources report that Utah has the 2nd lowest rate of impaired driving deaths. However, these accidents can still happen at any time, and it is important to be prepared in the event that you or a loved one is involved in a drunk driving accident. A majority of these accidents in urban areas versus rural areas.
How Alcohol Affects Driving Skills
When you consume alcohol, it impairs your brain’s ability to function, to think, reason, and control muscle coordination. These skills are crucial when driving a car safely.
There are negative side effects on a person’s central nervous system when their alcohol levels rise. The blood alcohol level in the body is measured by blood alcohol content or BAC. A BAC of 0.08 or higher is illegal in almost all 50 states, and it can increase the likelihood of being involved in a car crash.
At around 0.08 BAC, which is about four alcoholic drinks, the body’s muscle coordination becomes sluggish, it is difficult to detect risk, and your overall ability to reason is impaired greatly.
Your driving ability can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol:
- At 0.02 BAC, or about two drinks, your reason is impaired
- At 0.05 BAC, or about three drinks, you can possibly have impaired judgement, decreased awareness and loss of some muscle control
Consequences for Drunk Driving in Utah
For a first-time offense, the offender could face 48 hours to six months in prison. They are also subject to a $700 to $1,000 fine. If the offending driver caused bodily harm to another person, had a passenger under 16 in the car during the accident, or the offending driver was 21 or over with a passenger under 18 in the vehicle, the full prison term could be up to a year with a fine of $2,500. For a first offense, the driver is subject to a 90-day license revocation. The judge could order a suspension period of 90 days, 180 days, a year, or two years if the judge believes the offender is a hazard.
For a second offense within 10 years of the initial conviction, the offender could face 10 days to six months in prison. These individuals also are given an $800 to $1,000 fine. Again, if the offender caused bodily harm of another person, had a passenger under 16 in the car during the accident, or the offending driver was 21 or over with a passenger under 18 in the vehicle, the prison term would be up to a year with a fine of $2,500. For a second offense, the driver is subject to a full year license revocation. The judge could order a suspension period of 90 days, 180 days, a year or two years if they believe the driver is a hazard.
Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving
There are ways that you can avoid drunk driving. These include:
- Always having a designated driver if you are out in a group
- Not allowing friends or family to drive while impaired
- If you have been drinking, find a safe ride home from someone sober
- If you are hosting an event where alcohol is present, always remind guests to plan ahead and select a sober driver and/or offer food along with non-alcoholic drink choices
Fatal Drunk Driving Crashes in Utah
There are devastating consequences for drunk driving. They can impact the rest of your life. You should always avoid drinking while intoxicated because even a small bit of prevention can decrease the rate of alcohol-related car crashes in Utah.
Statistics show that 1 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving related accident in their lifetime. An average of 28 people are killed every day due to drunk car accidents in the United States. Protect your rights and your loved ones by contacting a certified Salt Lake City drunk driving accident lawyer.
The firm of Siegfried & Jensen has been working for over two decades to help the residents of Utah and the surrounding areas. We proudly have a 97 percent success rate with a total of 35,000 cases. We have rewarded $825 million to our clients in order to help them recover after an accident. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a drunk driving crash, please contact our offices at (801) 845-9000 to discuss your case today. We want to focus on the negotiations so you can focus on rehabilitation after a serious accident. Your injuries come first, and you shouldn’t have to worry about regaining lost compensation after a crash.