There is no doubt that drunk driving and drunk driving accidents are a major problem in the U.S. Drunk driving is the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents, and there are many law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that are constantly looking for new ways to get their message across. While there has clearly been some progress, there is still quite a lot of work to be done.
A recent column from the Los Angeles Daily News offers the opinion that in order to actually curb drunk driving, the focus needs to be on changing the culture. The article looks at the fact that many people do not think of drunk driving as a crime, as they do with many other crimes, even though those crimes are much less likely to result in physical harm. Essentially, we have someone who considers himself or herself a good law-abiding citizen and would never even consider stealing something as inexpensive as a candy bar. However, this same person would drink to the point of intoxication (beyond the legal limit) and then get behind the wheel of a 2,000-pound vehicle. This act of drunk driving could, and often does, result in serious personal injury or death of multiple victims, but it is not seen as a crime to that person when they get behind the wheel of the car.
As noted in the article, people talk about a “first” DUI as if it was some type of “rite of passage,” and some even apply this definition to a second offense. This lack of fear in getting behind the wheel of car while drunk is a major problem in this county.
However, as our drunk driving accident attorneys in Boston can explain, this dangerous behavior is not only illegal but it is also negligent. This takes us to the legal definition of what it means to have a car accident. This first thing to keep in mind is that in the plain English sense, the term “accident” means something that happens unexpectedly or unintentionally. While nobody gets behind the wheel of a car while drunk and intends to get into a serious or fatal accident, an accident is not unexpected. What we mean by this is that a drunk driving accident is not an accident; rather, it is someone’s fault, because it could have been avoided if the person did not get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
It should also be noted that it doesn’t matter if it was expected or unexpected to defendant. This is because the law does not use a subjective standard, but rather uses an objective standard. Because we cannot know what defendant was thinking at the time of the accident (subjective), we look to what a reasonable and prudent person knew or should have known. This is an objective standard, and a reasonable and prudent person knows that when you get behind the wheel of a car when drunk, you should expect that it could cause a serious or fatal car accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
To fight drunk driving, change the law and the culture: Guest commentary, May 6, 2017, By Marcus Kowal, Los Angeles Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Massachusetts Drugged Driving a Serious Problem, Police Say, March 28, 2017, DUI Injury Lawyer Blog