Drunk driving causes numerous injuries and deaths every year on our roadways. While organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.)work to educate the public on the dangers of driving intoxicated, people still drive drunk and cause accidents that tear at the very fabric of our society. Most tragic are the deaths and injuries to innocent bystanders. Whether they be children or adults, these people are involved in the unintended side effects of what should have been a harmless night out.
How Does California Rate Compared to the Rest of the Nation on Drunk Driving?
- California ranks 21 out of 50 states for drunk driving offenses.
- California plays host to 310,971 three time offenders and 44,210 five time offenders.
- Number of fatalities from drunk driving: 791
- 29% of total traffic deaths result from drunk driving
- California spends $4.98 billion subsidizing drunk driving fatalities
Death and injury to innocent bystanders has caused public outrage over the years and has lead to many states passing laws which make the penalties of drunk driving extreme. Yet, still these injuries and deaths continue to occur. To make matters worse, these innocent victims who suffer needlessly at the hands of an irresponsible individual oftentimes discover that the very individual who caused their injury does not even have insurance coverage to help cover the costs of that injury.
Dram Shop Acts in California
To combat the additional calamity of shouldering the burden of the medical costs that result from these injuries when there is no insurance; California has instituted what is known as a “Dram Shop Act.” One component of a Dram Shop Act deals with criminal liability, the other with civil liability. If a business owner sells, provides or causes to be sold alcohol to any obviously intoxicated person they are guilty of a misdemeanor. It is hoped that this criminal liability will act as a deterrent to business owners.
The Dram Shop Act imposes civil liability for:
- Alcohol sales to persons under the legal drinking age
- Alcohol sales to persons who are obviously intoxicated
- Any damages caused by a person’s drinking if the person was underage and purchased alcohol while they were obviously intoxicated
Resources for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
BE AWARE: The law limits the time for you to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your injuries! If you miss the deadline you may be denied the right to sue in the future.