Drunk Driving Increases In San Francisco, Contra Costa Counties
With the 2010 holiday season in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look at the impact it had upon the Bay Area. The period between Dec. 17 and Jan. 3 is regarded as the highpoint for drunk driving, where an escalation in partying is met by a heightened police crackdown on DUI. This stretch usually provides an excellent snapshot on the state of drunk driving in San Francisco, because alcohol-related arrests, accidents and fatalities are well-documented during this time each year.
Sadly, this year saw a rise in DUI arrests in both San Francisco and Contra Costa Counties, as reported by California AVOID. While some of the other counties, such as San Mateo and Marin, enjoyed a decline in drunk driving, San Francisco and Contra Costa show that intoxicated drivers are increasingly putting others in harm’s way with their irresponsible drinking. Alameda’s drunk driving arrests are quite alarming as well, evidencing a deep-rooted problem. Here are the numbers of arrest for each county:
- San Francisco, 91
- Contra Costa, 297
- San Mateo, 155
- Marin, 50
- Alameda, 530
Luckily, there is some good news to share: there were no reported drunk driving fatalities this holiday season in the Bay Area. Orange County was not as fortunate, as officials report five deaths from drunk driver accidents over the same holiday period.
Drunk Driver Liability in California
California officials and agencies publicize that drunk drivers are subject to criminal penalties and other costs, which may include days to months of jail time, a suspended drivers’ license, missed work days, a permanent criminal record, hefty fines, increased insurance premiums and attorney and court fees. The average DUI costs the offender $10,000.
A drunk driver – or someone driving under the influence of drugs – is also liable to his victims for the property damage, injuries or deaths he causes. Often times, victims suffer injuries requiring hospitalization and time away from work. A lawsuit against the drunk driver can help recover medical costs and losses of income, as well compensation for any lasting effects, disability or disfigurement caused.
When someone is killed by a drunk driver, the surviving family can hold the drunk driver accountable in a wrongful death claim. While money can never replace a lost family member, it can be used to hold the wrongdoer accountable for his actions and make him financially responsible for the loss to the family.
How an Attorney Helps
A skilled personal injury lawyer conducts an independent investigation of the accident and uses accident reconstruction techniques to prove liability of a drunk driver. Further, a Bay Area lawyer can recover all damages that a victim is entitled to through an exhaustive claim valuation process. It is difficult to assess the value of a claim in a drunk driver accident, but an experienced attorney knows how to avoid mistakes that cause the victim to receive less than full compensation. Lastly, a lawyer can take on the legal responsibilities that come with an accident, so the victim and his family can focus on healing.