It’s sad, but it’s true: impaired driving accounts for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Every day, 28 people are killed. That’s one death every 51 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This statistic only gets worse during the holidays.
Recently, a horrible rollover accident was attributed to driver impairment. New Jersey has very strict laws on drinking and driving, and tragedies like this show exactly why. This holiday season, do everyone a favor: stay sober if you’re getting behind the wheel.
What Makes a Driver “Intoxicated”?
New Jersey, like most every state in the U.S., holds drivers to a legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08%. A simple breathalyzer test can determine a driver’s BAC. If a driver is convicted of a DUI in New Jersey, he or she faces:
- Fines, fees, surcharges
- Jail time
- Community service
- Intoxicated driver program
- License suspension
- Interlock ignition device installation
These consequences vary based on the amount of alcohol in the offender’s system; where the DUI took place (school zones are punished more heavily); if the driver was underage; and if he/she refused to take the chemical BAC test.
These consequences are real and follow the perpetrator wherever he or she goes. But they are nothing compared to the guilt, agony, regret, and horror of taking another’s life in a drunk driving crash.
Impairment Isn’t Just Alcohol
Drugs can impair your judgment, too, and New Jersey lumps them together with alcohol under laws prohibiting “driving under the influence.” This includes prescription medication as well as illegal substances.
Marijuana is becoming more and more widespread, but it is still not a good idea to indulge before driving. The National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that marijuana impairs judgment, motor control, and reaction times. In fact, “those involved in vehicle crashes with THC in their blood, particularly higher levels, are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the incident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol.”
If you or a loved one was injured by a drunk or drugged driver, there are civil claims that can be filed in addition to criminal charges. Speak to Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040 if you have any legal questions. No one should be concerned about finances after a tragic accident that was not their fault.