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Driving on the 4th of July

The 4th of July is here! In addition to celebrating with friends and family, it’s important to focus on the three D’s of driving safety: Drugs/Drinking, Distraction, and Drowsiness. Being aware of these things can make the difference between a fun Memorial Day and a terrible one.

Driving on the 4th of July

According to Banner Health, every day, almost 30 people in the U.S. die as the result of a motor vehicle accident that involves an alcohol-impaired driver. This equates to one death every 51 minutes. During national holidays like Memorial Day it’s not uncommon for people to get together, open a few cans of beer, and celebrate. But things can turn deadly if after those few beers one of your party goers decides to get behind the wheel of a car.

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated, is defined as: operating a means of conveyance (a motor vehicle) while excessive amounts of alcohol, or any kind of controlled substance, are present in the body.

Under Arizona law:

“It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:

1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.

2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.”

DUI is serious and common offense. All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, have laws that state it is a crime for anyone to operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a certain level. In Arizona that level is 0.08.

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Under Arizona law: “A person who is convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.” And if convicted, a person may be subjected to the following under Arizona law:

“1. Shall be sentenced to serve not less than ten consecutive days in jail and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence is served.

2. Shall pay a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars.

3. May be ordered by a court to perform community restitution.

4. Shall pay an additional assessment of five hundred dollars to be deposited by the state treasurer in the prison construction and operations fund. This assessment is not subject to any surcharge. If the conviction occurred in the superior court or a justice court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the county treasurer. If the conviction occurred in a municipal court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the city treasurer. The city or county treasurer shall transmit the monies received to the state treasurer.

5. Shall pay an additional assessment of five hundred dollars to be deposited by the state treasurer in the public safety equipment fund. This assessment is not subject to any surcharge. If the conviction occurred in the superior court or a justice court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the county treasurer. If the conviction occurred in a municipal court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the city treasurer. The city or county treasurer shall transmit the monies received to the state treasurer.

6. Shall be required by the department, on report of the conviction, to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device. In addition, the court may order the person to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device for more than twelve months beginning on the date of reinstatement of the person’s driving privilege following a suspension or revocation or on the date of the department’s receipt of the report of conviction, whichever occurs later. The person who operates a motor vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device under this paragraph shall comply with article 5 of this chapter.”

There are also specific laws that dictate what happens to repeat offenders. Consequences include additional fines, jail time, community service, and the revoking of that person’s drivers license.

Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving can occur any time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. Distracted driving includes:

  • texting while driving
  • making phone calls while driving
  • changing the radio station while driving
  • looking up directions while driving

According to the Department of Public Safety, distracted driving causes roughly 11 percent of all crashes in Arizona — nearly 1,200 during a four-month review period. Though the act of rubbernecking, texting, or using a cellphone is not illegal in Arizona, DPS has still began cracking down on offenders under Statute 28-701A. This statute requires drivers maintain a speed that is no greater than what is “reasonable and prudent” ­under the circumstances.

“The essence of the idea … is that it is not reasonable to drive any speed without looking,” said DPS Officer and spokesman Carrick Cook.

Approximately 34 percent of teens between the ages of 16-17 say they have texted while driving. Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

During Memorial Day, as people rush to get to and from celebrations, it’s not unlikely for distracted driving to occur. Bills banning texting while driving in Arizona have repeatedly failed to become law, but according to Cook, DPSd believes it can combat all forms of distracted driving under the current statute. Still, it behooves you to practice safe and un-distracted driving for the safety of yourself and all those you share the road with.

Drowsiness

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.  This fatigue results in an estimated 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

If you feel you are getting drowsy while behind the wheel of the car this Memorial Day, pull over to the side of the road and do not continue to drive. It only takes a second to fall asleep at the wheel and become one of these statistics.

Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Below is a list of frequent injuries that can occur as the result of a car accident:

Brain injuries 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur as a result of a blow to the head or when an object pierces a head. A TBI ranges in severity: small concussions that can heal on their own, or severe injuries, such as an injury that impairs critical functions such as speech, vision, concentration, memory and emotional control. Regardless of severity, every blow to the head needs to be immediately assessed by a doctor. Even less severe concussions can have long lasting and dangerous effects.

Other Head Injuries

Other head injuries include: eye injuries resulting in partial vision loss or blindness; injuries to the ear resulting in loss of hearing; facial or jaw fractures; and dental injuries, including loss of teeth.

Whiplash

Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in car accidents and occurs when the neck stretches and quickly snaps back into place as a result of either a sudden stop or acceleration. This action can cause damage the vertebrae, ligaments or disks, or the spinal cord itself, in the neck and back, and potentially cause paralysis or other loss of function in one or more limbs or larger portions of the body.

Chest

Impact during a collision can break ribs and/or the sternum. The occurrence of chest injuries has been greatly reduced by airbags in dashboards and steering wheels. Still, fractures and injuries to organs can still occur.

 

Leg, Knee, and Feet

Leg and knee injuries can occur when a body smashes into a part of the car, resulting in a range of wounds from contusions (bruises) to fractures. Ankles, feet, and toes can easily be strained, sprained or broken (fractured), or in worst cases severed from the body during car accidents.

Working with a Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as motor vehicle, bus, and motorcycle accidents. It can be difficult dealing with injuries and extensive damages suffered during an accident caused by DUI, distracted driving, or drowsiness, or general negligence. Following an accident, victims are commonly left with questions and concerns regarding how they can successfully obtain compensation. There are many complicated insurance claim stipulations that can leave you confused. The help of an expert personal injury attorney who is well versed in the laws specific to automobile accidents in Arizona can help ensure you get the settlement you need and deserve.

After contacting an attorney, they will investigate the specifics of the crash. The more information you can provide to them, the better. That means specifics of the crash, any witness information, any medical bills or time spent in hospital, and the specifics of your injuries. They will build a case for you based on these specifics and then defend you should the case go to trial. You’ll want to work with experienced personal injury attorneys like the ones at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.

Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC

668 N 44th St.

Suite 300

Phoenix, AZ 85008

Phone: (623) 552-4959

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