A police officer was injured in a collision with a driver suspected of being under the influence, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The officer was driving his marked patrol car when he was struck by a pickup truck at the driver’s door. The accident occurred early in the morning at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and Route 125 in Santee.
The officer was said to be seriously injured in the collision. Witnesses stated that the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed, and rescue workers from the fire department were forced to cut the car door open to extract the officer. The driver of the pickup was not seriously hurt in the accident and was booked on a charge of suspected felony drunk driving.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the injured officer for his speedy recovery.
High-Speed Collisions A Common Feature of DUI Accidents
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System of the California Highway Patrol, there were 1,072 fatalities and 24,343 injuries caused by drunk driving in the state in 2011. At least 7,800 of these accidents involved drivers simply traveling in a straight line with no immediate obstructions or impairments to cause a collision. A great number of these drivers are speeding at the time of an accident. Even more drivers who speed run off the road or commit some other error that leads to serious consequences for themselves and others on the road.
Criminal Issues in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drivers who operate vehicles under the influence are breaking the law. In California, drivers who operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content measured at more than .08 percent are considered to be driving drunk. Drivers with BACs of more than .15 percent are considered to be exceptionally drunk, and different charges may be entered against these drivers.
Drivers who injure someone else while driving drunk are usually charged with felony DUI. Those who damage property are usually charged with misdemeanor DUI. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident, a driver who is driving with a very high BAC may still incur a felony charge despite the fact that only property damage occurred.
Liability Issues in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk drivers not only commit a crime, they also show disregard for the safety of others. Because drunk driving is completely preventable, judges and juries show little sympathy when faced with a driver who chose to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel, doing damages to property and causing injuries to innocent parties. In these cases, victims often file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to pay for the damages they have sustained.
A victim in a drunk driving accident is entitled to damages that may include special damages awarded as the result of the driver’s negligence in driving while under the influence. A personal injury attorney can explain these damages to the victim and help him or her recover the proper amount.