MARDI GRAS: ALCOHOL-IMPAIRED DRIVING SEASON
Mardi Gras season is many Louisianans’ favorite time of the year. Purple, green and gold are everywhere from king cakes to T-shirts to parades. Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season and precedes Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It also refers to events of the Carnival season celebrations, which bring much excitement and merriment. However, drunk driving can quickly change a fun time to a world of hurt for someone else.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), what many people refer to as “drunk driving” is more precisely described as “alcohol-impaired driving.” Many alcohol-impaired drivers do not appear drunk in the stereotypical way. Although drivers 21 and older with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher are considered alcohol-impaired by law, small amounts of alcohol also can impair the skills involved in operating a vehicle. It is illegal for people under 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.
If you have a Louisiana license, you automatically provide your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer while driving. This “implied consent” can be used by the officer to test your BAC if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, usually through a breathalyzer, or in some cases, a blood test. A breathalyzer is a device that estimates the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath. Sobriety checkpoints, locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment, also are allowed.
A recent report indicated that approximately 20 fatal crashes and 262 injury crashes involving alcohol occurred in February last year, which is the main month of Mardi Gras festivities. Lafayette Parish, where our law firm is based, ranked 5th for alcohol-related crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers and ranked 2nd for alcohol-related injuries per 100,000 licensed drivers, out of all 64 parishes. According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, drinking and driving in Louisiana remains a major cause of vehicle crashes, serious injuries and fatalities. In 2016, alcohol-impaired drivers in Louisiana were involved in crashes that killed 334 people representing more than 40 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Our car accident lawyers encourage you and loved ones to celebrate responsibly and remind others about the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. IIHS pointed out that alcohol involvement in crashes peaks at night and is higher on weekends than on weekdays. The 2017 County Health Rankings report revealed that the number of driving deaths with alcohol involvement in Louisiana was 33 percent and surpassed the national average of 30 percent.
If you or a loved one is injured in an alcohol-related car accident, contact an attorney immediately. Our car accident lawyers can help you bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver’s insurance company and prove fault, that the person caused your injuries through his/her negligence. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.