DUI

DUI: Continuously Challenging Laws in the U.S.

DUI: Continuously Challenging Laws in the U.S.

For Americans, impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or both, is a major traffic offense due to the great risks this put other motorists and pedestrians in. In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 10,322 individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol- impaired drivers. Two years prior to this, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested after they were found intoxicated either by alcohol or illegal drugs.

The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in all U.S. states is 0.08%, while for drivers below the age of 21, a “No Tolerance” policy is imposed (this policy mandates that no traces of alcohol should be found in their blood system while they are driving). This strict policy on the young, especially, teen drivers is due to the fact that alcohol or drug intoxication is the leading cause of death among them. Punishments for violators are fines, jail term and suspension of license.

Federal and state authorities are now more aggressive in catching drunk drivers, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunk-driving, like driving too slowly, swerving, braking erratically, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. To apprehend alcohol-impaired drivers before they end up causing injurious or fatal accidents.

A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor. A charge, however, can be raised to felony if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, or if his/her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit. In some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge).

A DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, punishments for a DUI felony include:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition interlock;
  • Administrative license suspension (ALS). This 90 – 180 days suspension of license limits a person’s driving privileges to/from work; and,
  • Open container law

Many of those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), according to a Lake Murray DUI lawyer, “claim that they have only had a few drinks or that they are not intoxicated, despite what a breathalyzer test says. These excuses, however, do not often hold up in a court of law.

Alcohol-related charges have serious consequences, and a conviction for a DUI crime can dramatically affect a person for the rest of his/her life. Thus, anyone who has been charged with a DUI may find it wise to call a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to start preparing a valid legal defense that will save him/her from more legal problems.”

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Truck Accidents due to’ Negligent Hiring

On August 1, 2006, a minivan, which had four occupants, a woman, her mother, and her two sons – one was 15 months old, while the other was 3 years old – was caught in traffic congestion on Interstate 80. The minivan slowed down behind a flat-bed truck. Unknown to the woman driving the van was a fast approaching three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer. The semi-trailer failed to stop on time, rear-ended the van, crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it to be engulfed in fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not anyone among those that occupied the minivan.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. Compared to car accidents, truck accidents may be fewer, however, its results are always more destructive and tragic due to their huge size.

Because of the major contribution trucks make in the country’s economy, drivers of smaller vehicles will just have to get used to sharing the road with these huge vehicles. To help lessen the fear of so many other motorists from driving alongside trucks, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers are allowed to operate these. Laws, like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower level of blood alcohol concentration (0.04%), strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road, have also been passed with the aim of ensuring the safety operation of trucks .

Despite the enforcement of trucking laws, however, many employers manage to require their drivers to be on the road longer than the maximum number of hours of service. Many are even able to hire drivers who do not possess the required skill, fail to train drivers about safe operation of trucks, as well as fail to impose disciplinary actions on drivers who commit traffic violations, especially DUI.

Hiring a driver with a bad driving record or keeping a driver despite repeated traffic violations is an act of negligent hiring – a major offense committed by employers who only intend to earn, while compromising the safety of many others, even of their own driver. According to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., this is one example of careless employer act to which the liable employer can be held totally responsible and for which he or she can be required to answer in court to face any lawsuit filed by his or her victim/s.

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