Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog
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All over America, people are gearing up to celebrate the July 4th holiday with family, fireworks, cookouts and, quite often, booze. austintexasriverboar

Generally, there is nothing wrong with adults imbibing in a few brews at a gathering. But there is nothing patriotic about getting behind the wheel after doing so.

Consistently, the Fourth of July has been labeled the most dangerous holiday of the year in terms of crashes.This has to do with the fact that most people are off work, usually for several days at a time, it’s summer time and people are more apt to not only drink but feel obligated to travel to more than one destination.

We know that drinking and driving is attributed to about 30 percent of all fatal car accidents throughout the year. On July 4th, the rate of alcohol-related fatalities shoots up to nearly 40 percent. That doesn’t even include the drivers who may have been drinking, but whose blood-alcohol concentrations measured less than 0.08 percent. (It’s worth noting a person can still be deemed intoxicated, even if his or her BAC is not above that standard 0.08 percent threshold.)

In 2013, there were 512 people killed in motor vehicle collisions over the Fourth of July holiday, which ran from 6 p.m. July 3rd through 6 a.m. July 8th. Of those who died, 200 were killed in crashes where at least one motorist had a blood-alcohol level that exceeded 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. Further, more than one-fifth of those drivers had a blood-alcohol level that exceeded 0.15 or higher, which is almost twice the legal limit.

The rate of impairment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was five times higher at night than during the day.

Young drivers are especially vulnerable during this time. During the Fourth of July holiday period for 2013, almost half of drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in car accidents were drunk.

Between 2009 and 2013, there were 750 people killed just during the Fourth of July holiday. This is not a new concern, but it’s a serious and ongoing one.

Because of the wide scope of the problem, local law enforcement agencies across the country are adhering to a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that involves increased patrols, DUI checkpoints and zero tolerance for impaired drivers.

Last year, police in Boston carried out a “no refusal” blood draw DUI checkpoint. While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that blood draws can’t be done absent driver consent without a warrant, police agencies in these operations partner with local judges/magistrates to have them on site to issue warrants on the spot for drivers who refuse.

Considering a first-time DUI on average costs an offender about $10,000 – and that’s assuming he or she wasn’t involved in an accident and didn’t hurt anyone – it’s simply not worth it. This point is even further underscored when we consider the unfathomable and tragic loss of human life that can result when people get behind the wheel drunk. It simply doesn’t need to happen.

There are a number of alternatives to driving drunk. The first is to make plans to stay where you are once you start drinking. The second is to assign a sober driver to get everyone home safely or make sure you’re within walking distance. Finally, there are a number of inexpensive or even free ride services, from taxis to apps like Uber and Lyft to the “Sober Ride” program offered by AAA. In Boston, “BeMyDD” gives would-be impaired drivers a safe ride home in their own vehicle for a pickup fee of $25 plus mileage.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

4th of July Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign “Drive Sober Get Pulled Over” Enforcement Materials, June 2015, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

More Blog Entries: Report:

Massachusetts is Mid-Level on Drunk Driving Prevention, June 19, 2015, Boston Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog

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When it comes to preventing drunk driving through strict penalties, Massachusetts is somewhere right on the middle border. thirsty

The website Wallet Hub analyzed DUI laws in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia using a key of 15 different metrics. Using this, they then ranked each state based on how strict or lenient it was on DUI offenders.

Massachusetts ranked 23rd out of 51 for overall. In terms of criminal penalties, however, we ranked as the 9th-strictest state. However, for DUI prevention, we ranked way at the bottom at 44th.

This tells us that while we do have some positive attributes in the fight against drunk driving accidents and injuries, we still have a long way to go.

Fact is, drunk driving is cited in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. Beyond the loss of human life, there is the fact that economic losses for these crashes cost Americans an estimated $60 billion annually. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The good news is that when federal and state governments started cracking down on DI offenders, the rate of drinking-and-driving-related deaths fell a great deal. In fact, impaired driving fatalities dropped by more than 50 percent between 1982 and 2013.

Of course, some of that has to do with a collective change in attitude. There is a greater awareness. We recognize the dangers. It has largely become socially unacceptable to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking.

But we can’t discount the fact that harsher penalties have an impact too. This is especially true where repeat offenders are concerned. For example, almost all states increase the fines and potential jail time with each DUI offense. Most repeat offenders will also have their license suspended for an increasing amount of time, some without allowances for work and school.

Additionally, about half of all states require repeat offenders to pay for installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they will be driving.

By federal estimates, these devices have slashed re-arrest rates by nearly 70 percent, so long as the devices are in use.

Wallet Hub researchers found on the whole, “red” conservative states tended to be stricter on DUIs than “blue” more liberal states, with the former ranking an average of 23 and the latter ranking an average of 28.

Arizona was deemed the No. 1 strictest state for DUIs, requiring a 10-day minimum for a first offense, 90-day minimum for a second offense and an automatic felony charge for a third offense. Licenses are administratively suspended for up to 3 months.

Massachusetts, meanwhile, tied for 23rd with Alabama and Arkansas. There is no minimum sentence for first-time offenders, though we do impose a 30-day minimum for a second-time offender. A third DUI offense is deemed an automatic felony. Plus, old DUIs are factored into penalties for new crimes for life. Most states have a range of between 5 and 12 years for prior crimes to be considered. Finally, DUIs come with an administrative license suspension for up to 3 months.

The metrics weighed by the analysts in their ranking included:

  • Minimum jail time for first and second-offenses
  • When DUIs are automatically deemed felonies
  • How long previous DUIs factor into penalties for a new DUI
  • Whether there are higher penalties for high blood-alcohol concentration
  • Minimum fines
  • Child endangerment protections
  • When or if ignition interlock is mandatory, and for how long
  • Whether alcohol abuse assessment is mandatory

Massachusetts law regarding DUI penalties is codified in Mass. General Law Part 1, Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 24.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Strictest and Most Lenient States on DUI, June 18, 2015, Wallet Hub

More Blog Entries:

Alleged Drunk Driving Crash in Beverly Proves Fatal, June 9, 2015, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Blog

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Anyone who is old enough to remember the Partridge Family will surely remember former child actor and drummer David Cassidy from the popular television show. According to a recent report from The Boston Herald, Cassidy was sentenced following his plea of guilty to one of his charges of drunk driving.
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According to a recent news report from CBS Boston, a fatal car crash in Beverly, Mass. was allegedly related to driver being intoxicated while driving. Authorities report an alleged drunk driver ran a red traffic signal and crashed into a pickup truck. This crash resulted in the death of a 45-year-old woman from Peabody who was a passenger in the alleged at-fault driver’s SUV.

1342726_alcohol.jpgThe accident occurred late on a Sunday night on Route 62. First responders arrived, began to provide immediate medical attention to the passenger of the SUV, and transported her to a local hospital. Doctors were unable to save her as a result of the severity of her injuries, and they pronounced her dead later that night.

Authorities also say the 48-year-old driver of the pickup truck that defendant allegedly ran into was also seriously injured in the crash and was taken to the same hospital as SUV passenger who died in the accident. He was reported to be in critical condition.
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While some national statistics show drunk driving incidents and arrests in somewhat of a decline, this does not appear to be the case everywhere, especially in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

12754_hand_cuffs.jpgIn the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drunk driving, when used in the criminal context, is actually called operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs (OUI) instead of the terms DUI and DWI, which are commonly used in the media and in other jurisdictions.
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According to a recent report from Pop Sugar, police arrested a woman for drunk driving who was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol with her four minor children in the car.

babyseat.jpgAuthorities say they pulled over the 33-year-old mother in Florida on suspicion of drunk driving. Officers noticed she had her four children – ages 4, 3, 1 and 2 months – in the car with her at the time or her arrest.

Police then asked her to submit to a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), and, while she was willing to perform the tests, she immediately began breastfeeding her newborn baby. While original reports stated defendant was breastfeeding her child while she was driving her vehicle, these accounts have since been corrected to indicate the breastfeeding occurred during the field sobriety test phase of her arrest process.
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Police are always looking for creative ideas for public service campaigns to curb drunk driving. One of the reasons for this is drunk driving often results in serious personal injury and lost lives of innocent people who were not driving drunk.

taxi-bubble-sign-1442111-m.jpgAccording to a recent news feature from News 6 South Florida, Miami police have come up with a creative idea of their own to warn people about the dangers of drunk driving. The police have taken a standard marked police car with full lights and sirens and painted the rear half of the vehicle to look like an ordinary yellow taxicab.

The police car also features a warning that tells people they should choose their ride home after a night of drinking, in that they can take a cab and get home safe or they can drive drunk and risk getting a ride in a patrol car on their way to a holding cell after being arrested for drunk driving. Police say the car is designed to literally show people the choice they face for how they will end their night.
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A Massachusetts woman was recently arrested for driving her minivan drunk at 111 mph.

This news comes from a recent news article published by the Franklin Sun Journal.

1360987_car_speed.jpgAuthorities say the incident occurred late on a Sunday afternoon. A state trooper clocked her speed as she passed him on a stretch of road where the speed limit is 55 mph. When she allegedly failed to stop immediately for his activated lights and sirens, he gave chase.

After eventually getting driver to pull over, trooper approached her vehicle and immediately suspected she was under the influence of alcohol. At the state trooper’s barracks, he administered a breath alcohol test on defendant, and she reportedly blew a 0.14. As our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers understand, this is nearly two times the state and federal legal limit of 0.08 grams of ethanol per 100 milliliters of blood.
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According to a recent news article form the New York Daily News, a retired New York Police Department (NYPD) officer was just arrested for his alleged involvement in a drunk driving car accident.

PoliceLights.jpgAuthorities say the 44-year-old NYPD retired veteran crashed his 1999 Toyota sedan into another car being driven by a 35-year-old man making a turn at an intersection. Emergency responders reported immediately to the scene of the alleged drunk driving crash and treated the victim before taking him to a local hospital. According to hospital officials, the victim of this serious drunk driving crash was listed as being in “grave” condition following his arrival to the hospital.

The retired police officer was placed under arrest for suspicion of drunk driving and taken to the local police station, where he was booked and processed before being released with a date to appear in court for his arraignment. It should be noted, this retired police officer has not been convicted of drunk driving or any other crime in connection with his alleged alcohol-related car accident and is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty in a court of law.
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Being involved in a crash while riding a motorcycle often results in injuries more serious than those those riding in a car, truck or SUV. According to a recent news article from ABC 5 News Boston, a motorcycle rider from Massachusetts was killed in a drunk driving accident.

engine-1344508-m.jpgAuthorities say 46-year-old alleged drunk driver turned his car into the path of a motorcycle rider traveling in the opposite direction, and the two motor vehicles collided with each other. Motorcycle operator, a 59-year-old man, died as result of the fatal collision. His daughter, who was riding behind him as a passenger on the motorcycle, was injured in the accident, though her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Authorities also report alleged drunk driver did not remain on the scene, as he attempted to flee at high speed. A witness to the alleged drunk driving accident followed defendant and reported his license plate number and description to the police. Defendant’s vehicle was also damaged in the accident, and witnesses called police when they allegedly saw a car with three wheels driving down the road. Police were able to catch up with defendant, and when they arrived at his location, he had reportedly already fled the car on foot and ran into the woods. At this point, authorities say defendant climbed up a tree, but when their K9 unit located defendant and started barking, he decided to climb back to the ground, and officers placed him under arrest.
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