Drunk driving is an unfortunately common occurrence across America, and indeed the world. It is responsible for thousands of deaths each year, most of which could have been prevented if the drunk drivers exercised more restraint and responsibility. However, restraint and responsibility are two attributes that are not associated with the inebriated. California is one of the worst states for drunk driving related crashes; the numbers tend to fluctuate, going down some years and rising in others, which means that the state has yet to get a handle on this problem.
The prevalence of drunk driving in California means that far too many drivers are at risk of getting into an accident.
The prevalence of drunk driving in California means that far too many drivers are at risk of getting into an accident. If you happen to be one of those drivers, then contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. They can help you to get the compensation you need to cover any expenses caused by the accident.
Drunk Driving Laws in California
Drunk driving is, of course, illegal in California just as it is in the rest of America, however, California has its own unique DUI laws. The California Vehicle Code section 23152 states that it is unlawful for a person with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher to operate a vehicle. The BAC limit falls to 0.02% if the driver is underage. Once a police officer has stopped a driver, they must then ask the driver to submit to a breathalyzer test or a blood test to determine their level of intoxication. The driver can legally refuse a breathalyzer test, but they will be subject to citations if they do so. However, those citations can be cleared if they accept a blood test later on.
The consequences for drunk driving in California are quite severe, with even first time offenders subject to serious penalties. A first time offense is considered a misdemeanor and the person is fined $390 to $1000, though there are penalty assessments which can substantially increase the fine to thousands of dollars. A first time drunk driving offender can also receive forty eight hours to six months in jail, though the judge will usually opt for probation instead. A first time offender can also have their license suspended for up to six months and will be under probation for three to five years, during which they must complete thirty hours of classes at a three month DUI school.
Those penalties are already severe but they get even worse for subsequent offenses as well as for accidents that result in injury or death.
California Drunk Driving Statistics
In 2018, there were 1,069 deaths caused by drunk driving in California, that number is down from the previous year, but that is still far too many people who have died from drunk driving. In fact, more than 1000 people die from drunk driving accidents in California each year, which makes up 29% of the traffic fatalities in the state. While drunk driving may be a pervasive problem in California, it only ranks 25th in the country where drunk driving fatalities are concerned.
Why Drunk Driving is Common in California
California in general is a driving state with fewer public transportation options than other states. That means people tend to drive everywhere in California and they unfortunately continue to do so even when they are drunk since there may not be any other transportation options. That is not an excuse for driving drunk of course, but it is a reason.
There are rideshare services as well as taxis, but those options can be expensive, so many people decide to take the risk of driving while intoxicated instead. The stiff penalties for even first time drunk driving offenders are meant to discourage drunk driving in California, but drunk people are not exactly known for their good judgement, which is why that practice still happens.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney if You Have Been in a Drunk Driving Accident
With drunk driving accidents being as common as they are in California, responsible drivers should be ready to contact a personal injury lawyer if they get into an accident that is caused by a drunk driver. It is clear that the severe penalties for drunk driving are not enough of a deterrent for some people, which is why drunk driving persists. As long as you are a safe and responsible driver, you stand a very good chance of getting the compensation you deserve after being in an accident caused by a drunk driver.