According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, in 2013, 92,531 vehicles were involved in crashes, and unfortunately almost 3,000 of these accidents were caused by alcohol consumption. Drunk driving was the fourth leading cause of traffic fatalities. Every 3.66 hours, another drunk driving accident occurs. When you factor in the heavy traffic on Kansas roadways, poor lighting on dark rural roads, and only 36.5% compliance with seat belt laws for accident victims, collisions caused by intoxication can become extremely dangerous and even deadly very fast.
To keep roads safe, legislatures could completely prohibit the consumption of any and all alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. However, politicians recognize that many individuals like to have a casual drink with a meal or while lounging at home and watching football. Therefore, Kansas permits a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of lower than .08. BAC is the number of grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. .08 is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. If your BAC is .08 or higher when you are operating a vehicle, not only are you violating criminal Kansas driving under the influence laws but you are also opening yourself up to deadly accidents and civil liability.
Alcohol is known as a depressant because it slows your thinking process and response time. Messages traveling from your eyes to your brain will take longer to be interpreted. Therefore, if you are under the influence of alcohol and your eyes see cars suddenly braking in front of you, your brain will be slow to process what it sees and relay to your feet to also brake. The more alcohol you imbibe, the worse your response time will become.
Common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord and nerve injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
- Seatbelt burn
- Internal injuries and bleeding
The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that reviews vehicular crashes, heralds organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Remove Intoxicated Drivers, as well as increased awareness of the dangers of driving while drunk, with decreasing annual DUI-related deaths from 25,000 to 10,000 nationally. However, the Board says that progress has plateaued. One-third of all highway deaths are due to alcohol consumption. While drunk driving accounts for a small number of overall accidents, the majority of drunk driving accidents do result in fatalities and severe injuries. To address the plateau, the Board is petitioning for strict changes to the law.
One such change is universal requirement of ignition interlock devices installed in all cars, nationwide, for drivers with DUI or OWI convictions. At the moment, Kansas judges may include an ignition interlock device requirement for a DUI or OWI conviction, but it is not mandatory. An ignition interlock device is connected to the ignition of the car. The driver must blow into a device similar to a breathalyzer, and the device calculates BAC. If the BAC is 0.0, the driver may start the car. Drivers are also required to intermittently blow into the device while driving. If a driver blows an illegal BAC, authorities will be notified. The Board would like automatic installation of these devices once an individual has been convicted.
In addition, the Board recommends that the blood alcohol level be dropped to 0.05 across the country. Currently, most European countries have a 0.05 limit, but the U.S. has lagged behind. 0.05 is equal to approximately two alcohol beverages per hour for an average-sized adult, though variations in height, weight, and body chemistry can cause metabolism of alcohol to fluctuate widely.
Kansas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Available for Free Consultations
If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal recourse for damages, such as compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is a premier personal injury law firm located in Lenexa, Kansas that has served clients injured in car accidents throughout the state of Kansas for the past 27 years. To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, P.A., contact us at (913) 681-5566 or (800) 734-3771.