There are plenty of ways to meet your end, but being involved in an alcohol-induced collision is among the worst. The tragedy only gets sadder when you’re on the receiving end, paying the price for someone else’s lack of discretion.
Unfortunately, studies have found that 34% of all accidents on Arkansas’ roads occur due to intoxication. Of these, 27% are cases of legal or severe impairment. For a fatal accident to occur, the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) must be 0.08% or higher.
The situation is likewise grim for Fayetteville drivers. Recently, a motorist by the name of Alejandro Ortega crashed his car into a By-Pass liquor store on Fayetteville’s South School Avenue. Authorities said his breath reeked of alcohol.
Thankfully, there were no fatalities or injuries, but Ortega was arrested for impaired driving. However, the situation is not this fortunate each time. Accidents caused by impaired driving are needless tragedies that cost lives, health, money, and more.
This article will discuss who is to be held responsible for impaired driving accidents and the possible solutions.
Can There Be More Than One Liable Party?
Impaired driving-related accidents in Fayetteville are generally pretty straightforward and hit-and-run personal injury lawsuits. Most plaintiffs believe that the driver alone is responsible for the injuries. However, an experienced Fayetteville car accident lawyer will be able to determine any additional parties involved.
To make things clear, the drunk driver is undoubtedly the primary cause of the accident. But, there may be instances when other factors helped seal the fate. For instance – it may be later found that the defendant’s car had some defect that contributed to the accident. In this case, the auto manufacturer will also be held responsible.
In another case, the improperly maintained roads could be a contributing factor. Here, the city will also become a liable party. For some others, even the liquor store that sold alcohol to the defendant will be assessed for assigned fault.
This aspect of the lawsuit can be confusing and overwhelming, especially at a vulnerable time. The plaintiff’s inability to prove the liable party(ies) responsible could make them lose the legal battle. It is best to allow reliable attorneys to handle the case.
Keith Law Group states that lawyers start by investigating the accident, and they prepare a case after calculating damages. Besides, they also help in filing insurance claims and making fair negotiations. If the case goes to trial, attorneys will represent with full evidence to ensure the plaintiff receives justice.
Ways to Prevent Impaired Driving–Related Road Accidents
A recent report found that Arkansas roads were the second-most dangerous in the US. As the second largest city in the state, Fayetteville has its share of busy and deadly intersections and highways.
The danger only increases when drivers get on the roads in an impaired state. However, there are ways in which law enforcement officials and regulatory bodies can prevent impaired driving accidents from taking place. These measures include –
Lower BAC Limits
Every state has laws prohibiting drivers from driving if their system has alcohol over the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In general, the same is 0.08%.
However, there are other high-income countries where this percentage is lower still. Examples include Denmark, France, and Finland. Estonia has an even lower BAC, at just 0.02%. This strict law serves well to keep drunken crash numbers low.
Following suit, Utah changed its BAC down to 0.05% in 2018, and the state witnessed a reduced number of accidents. Implementing such a rule in Arkansas would also benefit Fayetteville motorists. The state recently introduced a stricter law for distracted driving, so one for impaired driving should not be far-fetched.
Law enforcement officers can publicize certain highly visible checkpoints where drivers may be stopped and checked for sobriety. Mass media could spread the word, or officers could run random checks across high-risk interstates or locations of the city.
For infamous intersections like the one at E Joyce Boulevard and N College Avenue, more than one checkpoint could be set up. Officers may stop all vehicles or a portion of them they find most suspicious.
Law Enforcement Patrol
Besides the sobriety checkpoints, law enforcement officers could patrol areas that are most likely to witness road accidents. They can even run a check dressed in civilian clothes so that drivers do not get the hint.
This practice is most suitable to prevent impaired driving during the wee hours when people are likely to leave pubs. Both sobriety checkpoint checking and law enforcement patrolling must be done regularly.
The ignition interlocking system is a breathalyzer that helps to measure the levels of alcohol through a driver’s breath. Ignition interlocks can be easily installed inside cars. They keep the vehicle from starting if the driver does not pass the BAC test.
Drivers convicted of impaired driving in the past could receive a mandate to have an ignition interlock inside their vehicle. These systems help prevent repeat offenses and inculcate the habit of avoiding drinking before driving.
It is best to not wait for an accident to occur before assessing a drunk driver and providing help. For instance – if a driver commits a minor offense under the influence of alcohol, their name may be registered.
Later, they can be contacted with an addiction intervention plan. This would involve discovering if they have an addiction through patterns and habits. If yes, they may be convinced to join a specialized rehab program for recovery.
This strategy can be used in combination with one or two others mentioned above.
Instructional Programs in Schools
Right from adolescence, teens need to be taught the dangers of impaired driving. They also need to know the destructive results of alcohol and drugs in their system. Instructional programs in schools may include fun and creative ways like –
- Narrating real-life stories through local speakers
- Utilizing statistics from genuine and reputable sources
- Providing hands-on tools like driving simulators, alcohol goggles kit, eLearning programs, etc.
Additionally, teens must also be warned against commuting with someone in an impaired state. It’s best if they simply bring the situation to the notice of a teacher, parent, trusted caregiver, or principal.
The Bottom Line
There is more than one way in which alcohol impairs someone’s driving skills. In some cases, the individual has abused it to the extent that they are simply incapable of making rational decisions. Plus, they tend to forget those choices once the hangover has passed.
Both Arkansas and Fayetteville authorities need to take the necessary steps to reverse the current crisis. Since matters are becoming life-or-death, they must be willing to rule with an iron rod. This would at least spare innocent lives from senseless tragedies.