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Drunk Driving Accidents


We Fight for Real Justice for Drunk Driving Accident Victims in Florida

Drunk driving is one of the most irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous acts that anyone can commit. It not only puts the drunk driver at risk but also everyone else on the road with them as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that intoxication is a factor in more than 30% of fatal motor vehicle crashes nationwide. When someone drives drunk, the chances that they could end up causing an accident are high because there are a lot of risk factors involved. Anyone who gets into an accident that was caused by a drunk driver is entitled to receive compensation for any losses they experienced due to the accident.

DUI accident claims can be complicated. Some unique issues must be addressed. At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista, and Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys fight tirelessly to get real justice and the best results for injured victims and their families.


What is Drunk Driving?

Drunk driving, also known as driving under the influence (DUI), is the act of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is above the legal limit. In Florida, the maximum BAC level of most drivers who are of age (21 or older) is 0.08%. If your BAC is above that number, you are too intoxicated to drive. In some circumstances, such as for commercial drivers and underage drivers, the maximum BAC limit is lower.


Intoxicated Driving is a Serious Problem in the United States (Know the Statistics)

Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States. While there is some good news—the number of DUI crashes has fallen significantly over the past four decades—the reality is that we still have a very long way to go to ensure that our streets and highways are reasonably safe. Here are some of the most alarming and informative statistics about intoxicated driving:

  • Drunk Driving Took More than 11,500 Lives in 2020 Alone: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 11,654 people were killed in “alcohol-impaired driving” collisions in 2020.
  • Nearly Ten Percent of U.S. DUI Crashes Happen in Florida: reports that more than 8% of reported DUI injury crashes in the U.S. happened in Florida. That means our state’s DUI accident rate is somewhat higher than the national average.
  • Drugged Driving is Rising: The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that at least 12 million U.S. drivers operated a motor vehicle while impaired by illicit drugs last year. The number of drugged drivers is on the rise.

How Does Alcohol Intoxication Adversely Affect Driving Ability?

When a person consumes alcohol, it eventually enters their bloodstream and makes its way to their brain, where it starts to affect their senses and cognitive ability. That leads to the inebriated person’s senses not functioning properly and also leads to them making poor judgment calls. The absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream is called the BAC (blood alcohol content), and 0.08% is the legal limit in most states, including Florida. Still, alcohol starts to affect a person even before it reaches that level. Some of the dangers of drunk driving include the following:

  • Reduced Reaction Time – A driver needs to be able to make snap judgments if they are presented with an obstacle. But alcohol slows down a person’s reaction time, meaning that they may not be able to react quickly. If a driver comes suddenly in front of a drunk driver, they might not be able to avoid a collision.
  • Poor Judgment – The decision to drive drunk is already a display of poor judgment, but the choices a person makes while under the influence may continue to be problematic. Drivers need to judge important things like braking distance, how to react to debris in the road, and what to do in adverse traffic or weather conditions. All of these could be impaired by intoxication. Making the wrong decision at the wrong time could lead to an accident.
  • Blurred Vision – It goes without saying that vision is important for driving, which is why alcohol use poses such a danger to everyone on the road. Intoxication can cause a driver’s vision to blur or cause nystagmus. It might even limit a driver’s peripheral vision, all of which could cause serious problems when it comes to judging distances or noticing other cars or pedestrians on the road.

Make a Plan to Avoid Intoxicated Driving

One of the worst things about drunk driving accidents is that they all could have been avoided. Intoxicated driving is something that should never happen. Any person who is consuming alcoholic beverages in Florida should make a plan ahead of time to avoid intoxicated driving. Here are four ways to avoid drunk driving in Florida:

  • Designate a Sober Driver: If you are going out with friends, make sure to have a designated driver who will not drink and will be responsible for getting everyone home safely.
  • Be Ready to Use Public Transportation or Ride-Sharing Services: If you do not have a designated driver, consider using a taxi, Uber, or other ride-sharing services to get home.
  • Make Arrangements for an Overnight Stay: If you are at a friend’s house or out late, make arrangements to stay overnight instead of driving home after drinking.
  • Keep Emergency Numbers Handy: Keep important numbers, such as a taxi or ride-sharing service, on your phone so you can easily call for a ride if you need one.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Know the Law on Drunk Driving in Florida

It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs in Florida. As noted previously, the maximum allowable BAC level for drivers 21 years of age and older is 0.08. Though, a driver who is “impaired” may still be violating the law. Whereas a driver who has a BAC of 0.08 or higher is automatically guilty of intoxicated driving, any other driver who is deemed to be unlawfully deprived of their faculties due to alcohol or a controlled substance could also face a DUI charge. A DUI is a misdemeanor criminal offense in Florida. Though, a third-offense intoxicated driving conviction is a felony in the state.

The Penalties for a DUI in Florida

The penalties for a DUI in Florida vary based on several different factors, including the driver’s history (or lack of history) of previous offenses and the specific circumstances of the charge. All DUI charges in Florida can carry jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension,

Additionally, a drunk driver or drugged driver can be held civilly liable for the damage that they cause. If you were hurt in a crash with an intoxicated driver, you cannot rely on the criminal justice process to get you full and fair compensation. You need to bring a civil legal claim to seek relief for your damages, including vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How Can BK Law Firm Help With a DUI Accident Claim

Even though a drunk driving accident may seem fairly straightforward, the reality is that these cases are often complicated. You will need the help of an attorney. The defense attorney will try to come up with excuses why their client was not responsible for the accident, and you will need an attorney of your own to refute those excuses. Additionally, the insurance company of the drunk driver may be reluctant to pay the full settlement amount, and you will need an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf. At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, we are ready to protect your legal rights and financial interests through every step of the legal process. Among other things, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer will:

  • Answer your questions and explain your rights during a free consultation;
  • Investigate the drunk driving crash, gathering all relevant evidence of what happened;
  • Organize your medical records and document your damages;
  • Handle the legal claims paperwork and dealings with insurers; and
  • Take aggressive action to get you and your family justice and the maximum compensation.

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale DUI Accident Attorneys Today

At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident lawyers are skilled, results-focused advocates for victims and their families. If you or your loved one was hurt in an intoxicated driving crash in Florida, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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