As an attorney handling personal injury matters, I see firsthand the many different ways people are hurt or killed. Perhaps the most senseless are accidents caused by DWI. We all know drunk driving is dangerous, and is easily preventable. Most of us have a sense of outrage when we hear about a death or injury caused by a drunk driver, because the drunk driver makes a conscious decision to endanger everyone else on the road. Our outrage is heightened when a drunk driver repeatedly drives drunk.
MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) keeps statistics about drunk driving. They find the average drunk driver drives under the influence 80 times before their first arrest. This statistic is hard to believe, but I think it is valid. In all likelihood, drunk driving is frequently repeated by the offender. This pattern starts when a person drives home under the influence one time, and manages to get home without being arrested or involved in a wreck. They begin to falsely believe they can get home safely. The next time they are under the influence, they drive home again without a bad consequence. After a few times, drunk driving becomes permissible in the mind of the individual.
In reality, the odds of being involved in a wreck are greatly magnified when anyone is DWI. If the drunk driver is involved in a wreck, then the results can be devastating. Innocent people often become the victims.
Julio Acevedo is a prime example of a repeat offender. Mr. Acevedo was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in February of this year. The arresting officer who pulled Mr. Acevedo over for driving erratically found him to be intoxicated. Despite this arrest, Mr. Acevedo again drove under the influence in early in March. Unfortunately, this time he failed to see a taxi cab, and smashed into it at a high rate of speed. The force of the collision tore into the passenger compartment of the cab, killing a young married couple in the back seat. They were both 21 years of age, and both died at the scene of the collision.
This crash obtained a spotlight in the national press because the female occupant of the cab was six months pregnant. The emergency room doctors miraculously delivered the baby from the womb of his deceased mother. Sadly, the baby died shortly thereafter.
When a drunk driver says they have only driven under the influence on the one occasion where they were actually caught they are probably lying. Whenever we have a client who is hit by a drunk driver, we investigate the drunk driver’s criminal history as well as their driving record. We typically file a law suit against the drunk driver and take his or her deposition. In the majority of cases, the drunk driver has prior arrests.
We all need to think about our behavior. If we think we can get home after drinking just because we have done so before, then we need to change our thinking. The risks are just too high.