The Washington car accident lawyers at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC have seen the devastating impact drunk driving accidents can have on the lives of victims. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 50% of all roadway fatalities are the result of impaired driving, which includes drunk driving. The CDC reports that in 2012, more than 1 in 50 Washington residents acknowledged driving after drinking too much at least once within the past 30 days.
Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents – 10 Signs a Driver May Be Drunk Behind the Wheel
There are several telltale signs that a driver has had too much to drink. For example, MADD.org suggests that the following are all “signs that a fellow motorist may be driving while impaired”:
- Accelerating or braking quickly or erratically and for no obvious reason
- Drifting out of the driver’s lane
- Driving outside of designated driving areas (i.e., on a sidewalk, bike lane, or shoulder)
- Driving significantly (more than 10 mph) above or below the speed limit
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street or driving into oncoming traffic
- Driving without headlights at night
- Making abrupt or illegal turns with apparent disregard for others’ safety
- Straddling center lane markers
- Tailgating or nearly rear-ending another vehicle
- Weaving, swerving, or zig-zagging across lanes of traffic
Running red lights and stop signs, slowing down gradually in traffic, and nearly colliding with other vehicles and fixed objects are common signs of drunk driving as well. If you observe any warning signs of a possible drunk driver while on the roads, it is best to keep your distance and only attempt to pass if you have plenty of room to do so. Additionally, the Washington State Patrol encourages every driver on the road to help reduce the risk of drunk driving accidents: “If you see someone driving who appears to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, please call 911.”
Understanding the Effects of Different Levels of Alcohol Intoxication
Although we often think of drunk drivers as being heavily intoxicated, it doesn’t take much to compromise a person’s driving abilities. While drivers who have had way too much to drink can be especially dangerous, even just a couple of drinks can be enough to increase a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and increase the risk of drunk driving accidents. According to the CDC:
- BAC of 0.02% – At a BAC of 0.02%, drivers begin to experience a loss of judgment and will struggle to perform two tasks at the same time (i.e., maintaining a consistent speed and paying attention to their surroundings).
- BAC of 0.05% – At a BAC of 0.05%, drivers experience reduced coordination and start losing their ability to track the movement of other vehicles. They may have difficulty steering their vehicles as well.
- BAC of 0.08% (legal limit for alcohol impairment in Washington)- – At a BAC of 0.08%, drivers will have difficulty controlling their speed and processing information from their surroundings (i.e., the proximity of other vehicles and the presence of stop lights or stop signs). Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or above will also start to lose their ability to reason behind the wheel.
- BAC of 0.10% – At a BAC of 0.10%, drivers’ reaction time slows significantly. This means that they lose much of their ability to brake or correct course in time to avoid a collision.
- BAC of 0.15% – At a BAC of 0.15%, most drivers will experience “[s]erious difficulty controlling the car and focusing on driving.”
As you can see, a driver does not have to be over the legal limit to be affected by alcohol. Drunk drivers cause hundreds of serious and fatal car accidents in Washington each year.
Regardless of whether drivers knowingly operate their vehicles after having too much to drink, impaired drivers can—and should—be held responsible for drunk driving accidents. Our firm is committed to holding responsible drivers accountable for their negligence and helping our clients move forward with their lives.
If you or someone you love was injured by a drunk driver, call Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC at (800) 570-4878 to discuss your case for FREE with an experienced lawyer. Our firm serves clients in Olympia, Tacoma, and other areas throughout Washington, and has for the past 50 years.