Reports Show Drunk Driving Is a Serious Problem In Houston
Texas Has Some of the Worst Drivers
Some of the worst drivers in the country can be found in Texas, according to a recent report. The study, conducted by Car Insurance Comparison, found that Texas has the fourth worst drivers in the United States. One of the primary factors contributing to this poor rating is the frequency of drunk driving in the state – especially in Houston. Overall, Texas ranked 47th in the nation in terms of drunk driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the problem is particularly severe in Harris County, which it has dubbed the “drunk-driving capital,” as a result of the high number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers. MADD reported that 175 people lost their lives in Harris County due to a drunk driving car accident in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit in 2012.
Across the state, drunk driving is responsible for a larger percentage of deaths than the nation on average. In 2012, 1,296 people died in drunk driving collisions in Texas – accounting for 38 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In the United States as a whole, over 10,000 people were killed in such collisions in 2010 – accounting for 31 percent of all traffic deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Protect your loved ones from drunk driving collisions
While you cannot control the behavior of others on the road, there are a few steps concerned individuals can take to protect their loved ones from DUI drunk driving accidents. For instance, never agree to get into a vehicle with an individual who has been consuming alcohol.
A drunk ran into us in Houston. What are our rights?
It is a good idea for parents to speak to their teenagers about this important rule, as teens tend to have slightly skewed ideas regarding what constitutes a designated driver. According to a recent study conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance, teenagers often believe the most sober person in their group of friends is capable of acting as a designated driver. It is important for parents to stress to their teens that only an individual who has refrained from drinking should act as a designated driver.
Teenagers and students now have a safe, reliable and convenient option which is ride sharing. No matter what time it is, requesting a ride using Uber or Lyft is easy and a lot safer than getting in a car driven by a friend who has been drinking.
DWI Accident Perpetrators Face Unlimited Damages
Recently, news outlets reported that an illegal alien was being prosecuted for intoxicated assault for causing an accident while driving while intoxicated. Aside from the immigration issue, this case highlights not only the criminal ramifications of drunk driving but also the civil implications. While awards of punitive damages were limited in Texas last decade, certain conduct does not fall within those limitations. One such example includes injuries cased in DWI accidents amounting to intoxication assault under the Texas Penal Code whether in a boat or car.
When a drunk driver causes serious bodily injury their conduct subjects him to unlimited punitive damages in a civil action brought by the victims. Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyers often seek exemplary damages.
What Our DUI Injury Attorneys Will Do For You
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., a DWI injury lawyer can help you seek civil damages, including punitive damages, against a drunk driver.
We will investigate.
- We will find out how the accident happened and seek to discover the extent of the drunk’s intoxication.
- We will check the defendant’s prior criminal record to see if they are repeat offenders with a past record of drunk driving and/or drunk driving accidents.
- We will obtain the accident report and monitor the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator.
- Our law firm will talk to witnesses, examine police reports, and gather evidence of the criminal charges and administrative hearing.
- If there is another person or business responsible other than the driver, we will investigate their liability for allowing the person to drive, providing the alcohol, employing the driver and other possible areas of legal responsibility.
We will listen to you.
- We want to know all the circumstances of the accident and how your injuries have affected you.
- If a family member was in a fatal DWI accident, we want to know how the wrongful death affected you and your family.
We will advocate on your behalf.
- Insurance companies aggressively handle DWI accident cases and seek to settle the claims for less than what the victims are entitled to receive.
- Many times, insurance companies have been providing coverage to repeat offenders that should never been allowed back on the road.
- Our drunk driving accident attorneys will deal with the insurance company on your behalf and fight for the rights of the victims in the courtroom.
- If punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are warranted in your case, we will pursue the maximum amount allowed by law.
What sets us apart
A rare and proud honor among attorneys, Michael Fleming argued and won a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
As an assistant county attorney – and later as the elected Harris County Attorney, Mr. Fleming’s office served as the legal counsel for all county law enforcement agencies. These agencies include the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, all Harris County constables departments and county judges.
Mr. Fleming has personally served as the attorney for several elected Harris County sheriffs and constables and has represented individual officers in numerous lawsuits.
Michael P. Fleming will use his extensive experience as a law enforcement attorney and elected official to aggressively pursue all the damages to you or your loved one.
The drunk driver who caused the accident will likely have an insurance company defending their wrongful conduct in an attempt to reduce the amount of damages that you are entitled to receive.
Hiring an experienced Houston accident lawyer such as Michael P. Fleming is necessary to protect your right to fair compensation and punish the criminal wrongdoer who caused your injuries.
Drunk driving accidents can cause terrible internal injuries and wrongful death.
The person responsible — the driver who chose to drink and drive — should be held financially accountable as well as criminally accountable.
In many cases, the owner of the car that allowed the drunk to drive the car can and should be held responsible for putting the keys in his hand. This is known as negligent entrustment.
If you or a family member has been the victim of a drunk driver, talk to a DWI accident injury lawyer. It is important for you to contact qualified lawyers immediately after an accident to make sure evidence is preserved and your rights are protected.
DWI Motorcycle Accidents
Earlier this year a rookie deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department was killed when she was ejected from a motorcycle. The deputy was apparently riding as a passenger when the operator struck a curb sending the motorcycle airborne and ejecting her. The DWI motorcycle operator was later found to have a blood alcohol concentration level of .168 and has now been charged with felony intoxication manslaughter.
Lately we’ve been writing about the instability of the motorcycle apparatus in comparison to a standard vehicle in emergency situations. Motorcycles require skillful operators to manipulate the machine in ordinary conditions and even more skill to swerve or brake safely to avoid collisions. Operating a motorcycle while intoxicated not only impairs the driver’s reaction time, it inhibits his handling skill. In the case of the young deputy, it appears her driver was operating the motorcycle while impaired and, as a consequence, lost control of the motorcycle and the deputy lost her life.
If motorcycle accidents occur because of operator negligence, harmed parties include the person killed in the accident itself, as well as a family member who survives the victim. In the case of death due to negligence, harmed parties may be entitled to bring lawsuits for wrongful death or a survival cause of action. A wrongful-death cause of action is one for damages as a result of the loss of a child or spouse or parent, and includes damages for economic losses such as funeral expenses or loss of inheritance, and possibly punitive damages. Parties who are entitled to sue for wrongful-death may also seek compensation for losing the value of the personal guidance they received from their loved one, and compensation for mental anguish and loss of companionship.
A survival cause of action is a right in the victim’s heirs, legal representatives and estate to seek recovery for personal injury of the victim. Damages recoverable in a survival cause of action include pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages. Usually, punitive damages are capped in Texas. However, no maximum limits apply in causes of action against defendants based conduct such as intoxication manslaughter.
Driving any vehicle while intoxicated is never a good idea.
Is Buzzed Driving The Same as Drunk Driving?
Texas has a blood alcohol content limit of .08 percent. This means that a person is considered to be too intoxicated to drive if his or her blood alcohol content is .08 or higher and these people are more likely to cause a DWI accident. Every state adopted this limit by 2004, when the federal government announced that states with higher BAC limits would forfeit their federal highway construction funding. Now, The National Transportation Safety Board is encouraging states to drop their limits even further – to .05 percent.
The lower BAC recommendation is controversial, as many drivers hit the .05 level after only one or two drinks. Studies show, however, that drivers greatly increase their risks of causing car accidents after consuming a minimal amount of alcohol.
One recent study, which has been published by the British Medical Journal, involved an analysis of crash data dating from 1994 to 2011. The researchers focused their work on accidents that involved drivers who had consumed alcohol, but who were within the legally acceptable BAC range.
The researchers found that drivers whose BAC measured at only .01 percent were 46 percent more likely to be deemed responsible for car accidents. The researchers concluded that “buzzed” and even “minimally buzzed” drivers cause many serious car accidents – far more so than sober drivers.
The study noted that “buzzed” drivers are not likely to face criminal consequences after causing crashes.
The lead sociologist on the study, David Phillips, explained, “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving – no point at which it is harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.” He went on to say that the data supports decreasing the BAC even lower than .05 percent.
Time will tell whether Texas will heed the calls of the NTSB and this study. For now, victims of drunk or buzzed drivers need to be aware that they may have the right to hold the drivers accountable and obtain compensation for their injuries. It can be beneficial to seek legal counsel in the aftermath of a drunk driving car accident to learn about one’s rights.
Resources For Drunk Driving Accident Victims
These government and non-profit resources can help those who have been injured in a wreck with a drunk driver – even if there is no insurance coverage:
- Victim/Witness Division of the Harris County District Attorney
- State of Texas Crime Victim Compensation Program
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) of Southeast Texas
When the legal matter you are facing is important, make sure you have experienced personal injury litigation lawyers who have the time to discuss your situation with you, explain your options, and represent you. Click here for directions.
Contact The Injury Litigation Attorneys At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C.
If you've been injured by a drunk driver get the help you need!