In 2009, over 800 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Louisiana. An additional 73,000 persons were injured in car crashes. The applicability of these statistics are obvious: you and too many other drivers and passengers are at risk every time you get on the road in Louisiana. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself each time you get in a vehicle that can increase your safety and limit the effects of a crash on your health and the health of others in the car.
Sadly, almost 50% of fatal car crashes involve alcohol. A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol results in a mandatory ignition interlock hardship license and additional penalties including, but not limited to, a permanent criminal record, 6 months in jail, $1,000 fine plus court costs, and losing your driver’s license for 90 days. Furthermore, after three misdemeanor DUI convictions, these charges become felonies. Felonies are even more serious than misdemeanors and involve harsher penalties. These very real criminal penalties pale in comparison to the financial and emotional hardships those who cause a serious accident while impaired will suffer.
While hazards like a drunk driver are, at times, nearly impossible to avoid, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your passengers while you are driving. Efforts that will minimize your exposure to serious harm include, but are not limited to, driving the speed limit, wearing your seat belt, and, when appropriate, wearing a safety helmet. Safety helmets reduce the risk of death by 29% and the risk of fatal head injury by 40%. It is important that you make sure that you and all of your passengers are wearing your seat belts before you start driving because more than 65% of drivers who are killed in crashes were not wearing their safety belts. Young drivers and passengers are especially resistant to wearing seat belts. A Louisiana study shows that 14% of all high school students report that they rarely or never wear seat belts when riding with someone else. By making sure you and your teen wear your seat belts, you will be saving money not only through perks like those offered by car insurers but overall as a taxpayer. Louisiana residents spend almost $6 billion annually paying for car crashes, which comes out to about $2,000 per licensed driver. If all residents of this state were to make sure to secure their seatbelt before driving, a lot of money could be saved solely through practicing safe driving techniques.
A majority of accidents on the roads are just that: accidents. Unavoidable and merely a reality due to unforeseen circumstances, these incidences have a wide variety of results that almost always require some sort of legal process, whether an insurance investigation or litigation. However, drunk or reckless driving almost always requires either the driver, or the victim(s), to pursue legal action due to the devastating consequences involved. Should you be in an accident with a drunk driver, we hope that you utilized the simple tips mentioned in this blog regarding a seat belt and careful driving as these will often mitigate the personal damage caused. Not every injury is avoidable, though, and it is important that, if you are injured in a drunk driving accident, you retain the best legal counsel available to insure your damages, however great, are compensated.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and have suffered an injury, the Berniard Law Firm is here to help you. Whether your injury is permanent or not, or if someone you care about was fatally injured in an accident, it is important to that you take the appropriate steps and contact an experienced legal team. The Berniard Law Firm has been protecting Louisiana residents like you for many years and we look forward to helping you today.