Texas has tough laws to prevent drunk driving. Although drunk drivers face criminal penalties, drunk driving remains a very real problem in Texas.
In 2011, for example, the Texas Department of Transportation reported that 635 impaired drivers died as a result of drunk driving crashes. Drunk drivers also caused the deaths of 155 passengers who were in the car with them, as well as the deaths of 109 pedestrians and pedalcyclists; 139 individuals in other vehicles; and one additional person.
Altogether, this means 1,039 people died in 2011 as a result of Texas drunk driving crashes that could have been prevented if drivers simply refrained from getting behind the wheel while impaired.
Drunk driving accidents come at a huge cost to society, and they come at a huge cost to injured victims and family members who experience the loss of a loved one due to the carelessness of a drunk driver. While nothing can ever eliminate the pain of an injury or death caused by a drunk driver, victims could be entitled to compensation for their losses.
The board-certified personal injury attorneys at Roberts & Roberts Law Firm represent victims of drunk driving car accidents in Tyler, Longview and across East Texas. We have been helping people move forward after serious auto accidents for more than 35 years.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving in Texas
Reviewing the statistics provided about DUI injuries and fatalities in Texas shows just how severe the problem of drunk driving is and demonstrates the extent of the damage caused by DUI drivers. For example:
- There were 24,201 DUI-related crashes in Texas during 2011.
- The youngest person to die in a DUI crash in Texas in 2011 was not even a year old. In fact, there were two deaths of babies under one year of age caused by drunk drivers in 2011.
- The oldest person to die in a DUI crash in Texas in 2011 was 88 years old.
- The majority of DUI crashes in Texas (6,345) occurred on Saturday, and 966 of the Saturday crashes occurred between 2:00 and 2:59 a.m. Of those 966 crashes, 43 were fatal. Sunday had the second-most DUI crashes at 5,711.
- April was the month in 2011 with the most fatal crashes. Ninety-seven fatal Texas DUI crashes occurred during April, causing 109 deaths.
Drunk Driving Accidents and Injuries in Texas
When a person chooses to get behind the wheel after having had too many drinks, that individual presents a danger to everyone on the road. Slowed reaction time, impaired judgment, blurred vision and the tendency to nod off behind the wheel are just some of the consequences of having too much alcohol before driving.
Drunk drivers not only are more likely to cause accidents but they are also more likely to cause serious accidents. This is because drunk drivers are unpredictable and because they may not react properly to avert a crash. This means they may not slam on their brakes or swerve to avoid a head-on crash like sober drivers would.
Some of the injuries that are likely to occur in drunk driving crashes include:
These drunk driving injuries often happen to innocent victims who had no control over the decision of some other driver to get drunk and go for a ride.
Taking Action in Texas Drunk Driving Cases
Victims of drunk driving accidents or their surviving family members have the right to take legal action. Demonstrating negligence on the part of a drunk driver can be fairly straightforward. The key factors in drunk driving cases may involve proving that the other driver was drunk, proving that the other driver caused the crash as a result of the intoxication, and proving the extent of the damages suffered.
The damages for victims of drunk driving accidents should include payment of medical costs and lost income as well as compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress experienced as a result of the DWI crash. In the event that a victim is killed by a drunk driver, the surviving family members may bring a wrongful death lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for additional losses, including loss of companionship and a lifetime of lost financial contributions from the deceased.
In some instances, there may also be other parties to hold responsible for the drunk driving crash. Texas, like many states, has dram shop laws in place that can impose legal responsibility on the owners of bars or restaurants that serve alcohol to intoxicated patrons who then drive drunk. Taking action against the bar or restaurant under these laws can provide the injured victim of a drunk driving accident with an additional defendant to sue in order to recover full and fair compensation.