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Federal DOT Releases DUI Statistics, Reminds Drivers to Stay Sober During Holidays

Broward County car accident attorneys like me got some bittersweet news Dec. 7 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As the Washington Post reported, the federal government’s driving safety agency held a press conference Monday to announce its annual anti-drunk-driving campaign for the holidays and reveal national DUI statistics. Because intoxicated driving is statistically likely during the holidays, the NHTSA partners with local law enforcement to run a national anti-DUI campaign called “Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” In its press conference, however, the agency announced statistics showing that drunk driving has actually gone down in recent years. However, the accompanying report shows that driving under the influence of drugs is now a serious threat.

According a survey by the NHTSA, 11% of drivers on the road on the weekends are under the influence of an illegal drug. That number shoots up to 16% at night, traditionally the time when drunk driving rates are highest. That was the bad news in a Dec. 7 Washington Post article on the press conference. More bad news for Florida was that we are one of the ten states that did not see a drop in the rate of fatal drunk driving accidents. Florida, Delaware and Pennsylvania saw no change to fatal DUI crashes, while seven states actually saw increases: New Hampshire, Kansas, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Idaho, Oklahoma and Colorado. Drunk driving fatalities declined by 7% nationwide, the Post reported. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the declines were biggest in states that sought and prosecuted DUI most aggressively, with checkpoints and stepped-up patrols.

I hope Florida authorities take that message to heart. The NHTSA report (PDF) shows that our rate of fatal DUI accidents is better than those of most of our neighbors in the Southeast, but it still isn’t falling as fast as that of the nation as a whole. As a Hallandale Beach auto accident lawyer, I work frequently with victims of serious car crashes, including people who were badly hurt or lost a family member in drunk driving accidents. Every single one of those accidents was the preventable result of another driver’s negligent decision to get behind the wheel while impaired. Most public education campaigns about DUI don’t differentiate between alcohol and drugs, but both will leave drivers’ judgment and motor skills impaired, harming their ability to safety control a vehicle. And driving under the influence of either can leave the innocent motorists around them equally dead.

Cohn, Smith & Cohn represents clients who were seriously injured in a car wreck that was no fault of their own — whether or not the other driver was intoxicated. We help clients claim financial compensation for their physical injuries, emotional trauma, accident-related financial costs and any permanent disability or wrongful death. Unfortunately, we find that many of our clients come to us after struggling for some time with serious financial stress brought on by high accident-related medical bills, often coupled with an unexpected reduction in income. Our Margate traffic accident lawyers help lay these financial injuries back at the door of the person or people who caused them — the negligent driver, and sometimes an insurance company that refuses to pay what it owes. Our goal is always to get the fairest, most complete settlement possible for our clients, so they can get the medical care they need, make ends meet and move on.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn to learn more about your rights and your legal options. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us through our Web site or call (954) 431-8100 today.

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