Mothers Against Drunk Driving releases some drunk driving statistics that revealed that in 2008, 11,773 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver who had an illegal blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. These drunk driving deaths make up almost a third of vehicleaccident fatalities for the year.
According to AlcoholAlert.com, all 50 states now include two statutory offences for driving under the influence of alcohol. These offences are DUI/DWI and ‘illegal per se’. In states that make a distinction between DUI and DWI, the more serious charge is DWI. DU
I is the original term and the one that most of us are most familiar with hearing. It is often applied when a driver is found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but under the .08 limit.
As explained on Wikipedia, driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is the second term and is often used when a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08. Outside of making this distinction, the term ‘illegal per se’ refers to a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
Testing for intoxication varies from state to state, but most often involves a breath test as described in an article on Suite101. The breath test, as opposed to a blood or urine test, can be administered quickly by non-medical staff and offers rapid results. All states have implied consent when it comes to breath testing, meaning that if a police officer has reason to believe that a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he is assumed to have given consent. A driver who refuses to submit to testing will often have her license suspended or revoked. A breath test involves a machine that measures the amount of alcohol in a deep-lung breath and converts it to blood alcohol concentration.
Unfortunately, breath testing is not always accurate and can be altered by numerous factors including, certain diseases and conditions (such as asthma and diabetes), shock or trauma, some specific diets, vomiting, burping, heartburn, improper use or maintenance of the machine, environmental factors, the driver’s use of mouthwash, and many others . Blood and urine tests offer more accuracy, but less convenience and much slower results.
Hopefully most of us will never have to deal with an alcohol related accident situation, but it is something that all drivers, passengers and pedestrians should remain aware of and informed about. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving crash, you should have your case assessed by a qualified attorney. We regularly deal with vehicle accident cases and a Dallas personal injury attorney would be happy to provide you with a free assessment.