By: Ruben DavidoffSeptember 3, 2020,

You’ve probably heard from countless people and online sources that drunk driving is nothing to be taken lightly. Yet, despite numerous awareness programs and campaigns dedicated to reducing the prevalence of drunk driving, it remains one of the leading causes of serious and fatal auto accidents across the U.S.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that 29 people in the U.S. lose their lives every day in an alcohol-related car crash—that means that one person every 50 minutes is killed by a drunk driver.

While rates of New York drunk driving accidents have dropped down in recent decades, around 1 in 4 of all road deaths remain caused by the use of alcohol or drugs. But the number of fatal crashes does not tell the whole story. Thousands more are severely injured and sustain debilitating injuries and long-term physical and emotional disabilities.

What Alcohol Does To Drivers

Even small amounts of alcohol can impact a person in many ways. Translated behind the wheel, these impacts can be especially hazardous and affect a motorist’s:

  • Judgment
  • Concentration
  • Comprehension
  • Coordination
  • Vision
  • Reaction time

There is no safe way to drive while intoxicated. The higher the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), the more difficult it will be for a driver to even function at a basic level. The BAC is dependent upon:

  • How much alcohol is consumed
  • How much time passes in between drinks
  • The drinker’s weight
  • The drinker’s hydration levels
  • The amount of food in their system

New York Efforts To Reduce Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is especially prominent in major metropolitan areas, like New York City. New York uses state and federal funding for a number of programs aimed at combating drunk driving, including:

  • Statewide public information campaigns
  • Training programs, such as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course and DRE school
  • The STOP-DWI Foundation’s “Have a Plan” mobile app

Additionally, the state of New York has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country, which carry steep penalties for those convicted. Depending on the driver’s BAC level, past similar convictions, and specific circumstances of the case, they will be given penalties of fines, loss of driving privileges, court-ordered programs, and possible jail time. Below are some of the legislation that New York has passed to deter individuals from driving while impaired:

New York’s Zero Tolerance Law

A person under 21 years of age with a BAC of between 0.02% and 0.07% is in violation of New York’s Zero Tolerance Law and will be required to submit a breathalyzer test.

Ignition Interlock Mandate

Any driver who is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DWI (driving while intoxicated) must have an interlock device installed in their vehicle; the individual is responsible for paying for the installation and maintenance of the device.

Leandra’s Law

Any person charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (BAC of 0.08% or higher) or impaired by drugs while transporting a child 15 years old or younger will be charged with a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in state prison.

Vince’s Law (Multiple DWI Offenses)

Drivers who commit four or more DWI offenses within 15 years may be charged with a Class D felony, which holds a penalty of between two and one-third years and seven years in state prison and a fine up of to $10,000.

Sean’s Law

A judge may suspend the driver’s license or permit of a minor who is charged with a DWI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) until the minor appears in court again.

Filing A Lawsuit Against A Drunk Driver

We know from experience working with injury victims that drunk driving accidents can cause some of the most severe accidents on the road. While New York follows a no-fault system when it comes to car accident injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault drunk driver if one of the two conditions below applies to you:

  • You sustained a “serious injury” (you can learn more about what constitutes a serious injury on our recent blog on no-fault insurance); or
  • You sustained excessive economic loss, which usually means more than $50,000 in total out-of-pocket expenses.

If you are injured in a car accident caused by an impaired driver, please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for personalized legal guidance and caring advocates in your corner. At Davidoff Law, our legal team has extensive experience working on behalf of injury victims and their families. When all feels like it’s falling down, consider us your safety net.

Contact Davidoff Law at (212) 900-0000 to learn more about your legal options.

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