Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

Driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs is never a safe or legal option. Drivers should take care to ensure that they plan ahead if intending on being under the influence by finding other transportation options, such as using a ridesharing app. On top of risking the lives of yourself, your passengers, and other motorists and pedestrians sharing the road, perpetrators can face criminal liability. Different jurisdictions have different protocols for charging perpetrators with crimes depending on the circumstances. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving-related crashes every day.

According to a recent news report, a fatal three-vehicle car crash occurred in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The crash occurred on southbound Ritchie Highway and Maryley Station Road in Glen Burnie, Maryland. A 35-year-old man was operating a vehicle traveling southbound and approaching an intersection but failed to stop for a red traffic signal. The vehicle struck two vehicles. As a result of the accident, the driver of the first vehicle that was struck was pronounced dead at the scene, while the 35-year-old driver was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and his 13-year-old passenger was transported to a medical center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Evidence suggested that the 35-year-old driver may have been under the influence of alcohol and that excessive speed may have also played a role in the accident. The driver is facing multiple criminal charges, including, but not limited to, negligent manslaughter, homicide while under the influence of alcohol, and driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a minor.

Over the past five years, nearly 800 people in Maryland have been killed in crashes involving impaired drivers and over 10,000 people per year die throughout the United States in alcohol-impaired crashes. Each year, tens of thousands of people are arrested on Maryland roads for drunk or impaired driving. The state currently deploys a specialized team of five trained Maryland State troopers assigned to the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort (SPIDRE) to enforce impaired driving laws. Since 2013, State Troopers in SPIDRE have taken more than 4,000 impaired drivers off of Maryland roads.

What Makes Drunk Driving So Dangerous?

Alcohol-impaired drivers are particularly dangerous for a number of reasons. Impaired drivers have reduced levels of concentration and slower reaction times when processing their surroundings. Additionally, drunk drivers suffer from lesser hand-eye coordination and they are more likely to use poor judgment and suffer from memory loss while under the influence. All of these factors greatly increase the likelihood of impaired drivers being involved in car accidents. Signs of impaired drivers on the road include but aren’t limited to, quick acceleration or deceleration, weaving across the road, erratic breaking, slow response to traffic signals, or excessively slow driving (10 mph below the speed limit). When driving, exercise extreme caution if you spot any of these signs from other drivers on the road. In 2016, Maryland implemented stricter drunk driving laws throughout the state, including harsher penalties and an Ignition Interlock Program. A recent news report detailed a Maryland car crash.

According to the news report, the fatal accident occurred in the afternoon on March 30, when a 2008 Toyota Tundra was traveling southbound on Ritchie Highway when it ran a red light. The Toyota Tundra drove through the intersection and collided with a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox turning left into the Marley Station Mall. A third vehicle, a 2013 BMW, that was turning left into the mall was hit by the other two vehicles in the process. The 36-year-old passenger of the Chevrolet Equinox was pronounced dead at the scene. The 60-year-old driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The 35-year-old driver of the Toyota Tundra was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, while the 13-year-old passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the BMW was not injured. According to the police, evidence suggests that the driver of the Toyota Tundra was under the influence of alcohol and speeding at the time of the accident. The crash remains under investigation by the Traffic Safety Section of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only dangerous but highly illegal. The chances of crashes and fatal accidents increase when drivers are inhibited because they are less able to react to situations that come up on the road or exercise poor judgment while driving. Unfortunately, Maryland drivers are all too familiar with the dangers of drivers operating their vehicles under the influence. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland drivers reported driving after drinking at a higher rate than the national reporting rate. In fact, between 2009 and 2018, 1,515 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in Maryland. The CDC has found that over 10,000 people per year die in such crashes throughout the country. A recent article discussed a local fatal crash where alcohol was involved.

According to the news article about a recent crash involving an intoxicated driver, the accident occurred in the evening around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, when a 2001 Volvo S80 with a driver and a passenger was traveling on Solomons Island Road approaching eastbound Route 665 when the vehicle left the right side of the roadway and struck a utility pole, crashing. The crash was a single-vehicle accident. Immediately following the collision with the utility pole, the passenger, who was in the front seat, was transported to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. The passenger was later pronounced deceased. Due to roadside observations, the driver of the car was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and placed under arrest by authorities for further testing. The crash is currently under investigation by the Traffic Safety Section

Does My Negligence Affect My Maryland Case?

Contributory Negligence is a legal concept that potentially prevents plaintiffs in an accident case from receiving recovery for injuries resulting from a crash if their negligence contributed to the accident to any degree. Essentially, even if the negligence of the operator of another vehicle is largely responsible for the accident, if the plaintiff was even a little negligent, it is possible they will not be able to recover compensation. In Maryland, contributory negligence is interpreted very broadly, allowing minor negligence by the plaintiff in personal injury cases to defeat even very strong claims.

Sometimes, when car accidents take place, the fault does not always fall entirely on one party. Although one party may share more of the fault proportionally, this situation often gives rise to complicated issues when personal injury claims are at stake. In some states, like Maryland, if you contributed to causing the accident in any way, it could bar you from receiving compensation. Thus, understanding your rights and discussing the circumstances surrounding your accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial to maximizing the success of your lawsuit.

According to a recent local news report, officers responded to a two-car collision. Based on initial evidence, a Dodge Ram was allegedly speeding when it crashed into the back of a Dodge Caliber. When local authorities arrived on the scene of the accident, the Dodge Ram was attempting to leave the collision site. Police were able to successfully stop the Dodge Ram from leaving, which was occupied by two men and had significant front-end damage. The driver of the Ram was arrested for driving under the influence and transferred to the Maryland State Police department for further investigation.

The second vehicle, the Dodge Caliber, had three people inside. The driver and both passengers were transported to a local hospital for treatment of significant injuries. Local authorities believe that the driver of the Dodge Caliber may have been driving under the influence as well. As charges are pending for both drivers in the accident, the collision remains under investigation.

In the United States, the legal system addresses offenses with two different cases: criminal and civil. While there are many distinctions between these cases, many Maryland accident cases involve both criminal and civil charges. Typically, the differences involve the offenses, standard of proof, punishments and constitutional rights of those accused of an offense.

Generally, criminal cases involve crimes against society as a whole, even if the precipitating event primarily affected one person. For example, while a person may assault one individual, the law considers the assault an offense to society. As such, the state prosecutes these crimes, and the prosecutor files the case instead of the victim. In contrast, the wronged party files the case against the at-fault party in a civil case. Further, civil cases generally result in monetary compensation, whereas criminal cases may include fines in addition to incarceration.

Additionally, the civil system requires the plaintiff to establish their case by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that it is more likely than not that the at-fault party engaged in the conduct leading to the lawsuit. Under the criminal system, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Moreover, criminal cases typically allow a jury trial, whereas a judge or jury may decide civil cases. Finally, the constitution provides a wide array of protections to defendants in the criminal system, much broader than those afforded in a civil case.

The pandemic decreased holiday travel the past few years; however, this year marks a return to some semblance of normalcy. Maryland drivers will likely experience more air, auto, and public transportation traffic during the holiday season. Maryland roads become busier starting around Halloween and through New Year, which results in additional road hazards.

This increase in travel combined with winter weather may increase the likelihood of an accident. While the number of crashes decreased on the actual holiday, the rate of accidents increased in the days surrounding the holiday. As such, motorists and passengers should take steps to avoid dangerous driving and protect themselves and others during this season.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while many behaviors may lead to accidents, the holidays bring about additional driving hazards. The four most dangerous holiday driving behaviors include:

Impaired Drivers

Impaired driving is the cause of more than half of all car accidents. This type of driving refers to operating a vehicle while being affected by alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs, sleepiness, distractions, or a medical condition. Although many people assume that December 31st is the most alcohol-related accident, Halloween has three times more fatal accidents than New Year’s Eve.

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Despite great improvements in the safety of cars and roadway infrastructure, motor vehicle accidents remain the number one cause of death in the United States for those aged 1-54. Many of these accidents are preventable. Just last week, for example, three people died in a Maryland crash where alcohol was a suspected factor.

The accident took place in Anne Arundel County on a Saturday night. In this single-car crash, an SUV heading westbound was spotted barreling down the road before suddenly exiting the road, flipping upside down, and smashing into a tree. Tragically, all three people in the SUV died on the scene. The youngest was just 31 years old.

Although the most direct causes of the crash appear to have been excessive speed and the driver’s failure to stay in his lane, officials also believe that alcohol was a contributing factor.

Drunk driving is frequently listed as one of the leading causes of Maryland car accidents. Sadly, we take this as a given, as drunk driving accidents are not uncommon. However, every single DUI accident is entirely preventable and, despite the decades-long efforts of lawmakers, people continue to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Consuming alcohol has several negative effects on a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. For example, those who consume alcohol have slower reaction times, their judgment becomes clouded, they often get sleepy, and their ability to gauge risk is greatly compromised. The end result is that anytime someone gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they place everyone on the road at risk. Drivers who engage in this reckless conduct can—and should—be held accountable for their actions.

DC Teachers’ Union President Legally Impaired Following Fatal Accident

A tragic example of a drunk driving case comes from neighboring Washington, D.C. Back in April of this year, a D.C. musician was fatally struck by a driver while waiting at a traffic light. According to a local news report, the tragic collision took place at the intersection of Crain Highway and Harbour Way in Prince George’s Count. As it turns, out the driver of the striking vehicle was the president of the D.C. Teacher’s Union.

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The weather is getting colder, and the days are getting shorter, which also signals the beginning of the holiday season. While the holiday season is exciting and a source of joy and community for many, it can also be a dangerous time of the year for Maryland drivers. With an increase in family gatherings and alcohol consumption, as well as generally worse driving conditions in the wintry weather, Maryland car accidents caused by drunk or intoxicated drivers are especially concerning in the winter months. Although driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is against the law in Maryland, people unfortunately still do it all the time, leading to tragic and preventable car accidents.

For example, take a recent Maryland car accident that occurred last month in Churchville in Harford County. According to a local news article covering the incident, a Maryland man was driving home one night just after 8 PM with his fiancé and their two children, 7 and 11 years old. Tragically, on their way home, a driver in a Jeep crashed into the passenger side of their car, hurting his fiancé and his children. His fiancé and his daughter, only 7 years old, were both severely injured and had to be airlifted to Shock Trauma in a nearby hospital for emergency surgery. His fiancé suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding, but is out of the ICU now and expected to recover fully.

Tragically, however, one week later, the young girl was still in the ICU, heavily sedated in a coma and hooked up to a ventilator. Her injuries were substantial—the right side of her body was crushed, and she had multiple broken bones and a severe brain injury. Family and community members are waiting hopefully for a recovery. However, the injuries are so substantial that she will likely still have months of medical care ahead of her, even if she survives. While nothing has been confirmed yet, the police report created after the accident stated that alcohol contributed to the crash.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is very dangerous, not to mention illegal. Unfortunately, however, thousands of people still drive while intoxicated in Maryland every year, and many of them end up causing Maryland car accidents as a result. Driving under the influence is dangerous because alcohol and drugs impact your judgment, your decision-making, and your vision. Drunk drivers are more likely to make careless or even reckless driving maneuvers, run red lights, drive the wrong way down the street, or drive at speeds far above the speed limit. These actions can tragically have devastating consequences on the lives of other drivers.

For example, a drunk driver was recently arrested after causing a car crash that killed a mother and sent her two children to the hospital. According to a local news report covering the incident, the driver was driving in the wrong direction on the road when he collided with the victim’s car. She and her two children, ages six and eight, were all rushed to the hospital, where the mother tragically passed away.

This story is tragic, but unfortunately not all that uncommon. According to a recent report, Maryland has 308.7 DUI-related arrests per 100,000 people. The 2018 Maryland Highway Safety Plan reports that from 2011 to 2015, impaired/intoxicated driving caused one in three fatal crashes, one in ten crashes overall, and nearly one in ten crashes resulting in injuries.

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