Marijuana and drugged driving

September 15, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

733342_rolled_cigarette.jpgBoth Colorado and Washington voters have given the OK for marijuana to be sold for recreational use. It appears that Colorado is ahead of Washington in terms of establishing pot shops. Many cities in Washington are still struggling to draft their city ordinances regulating sales and, while Seattle has some pot shops open, Bellevue still does not have a single pot store.

City officials in Washington are looking to Colorado in seeing how legalization is working, what regulations need to be written and the impact of the new laws.

While far reaching studies are not yet available, there does appear to be an increase in dangerous and erratic driving when driving under the influence of marijuana.

ABC news correspondent Clayton Sandell reports that Colorado state troopers have written almost 230 tickets for "driving high" and the number of drivers involved in fatal accidents testing positive for marijuana has doubled since the recreational pot law was passed. Compare this with 3,100 citations for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

While we have a concrete blood-alcohol limit in which we can determine a driver is impaired, it's not as clear with marijuana. Washington State has set a limit; a THC-blood level of 5 nanograms or more means that you are impaired. However, a driver could be impaired at far lesser levels. For some drivers, a single hit could make one intoxicated. For others users who ingest food products with marijuana in them, effects can take an hour or more before the person starts to feel effects.

Washington law is very clear : if you injure or kill a person while operating a motor vehicle and you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could be convicted of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide and face felony charges.

If you are a person who has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by an impaired drive, you may able to seek compensation for your damages. A personal injury attorney can assist you with your car accident claim. The Farber Law Group, a law firm with more than 30 years experience in representing accident victims and their families. Call the firm today for a free consultation about your claim.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "Marijuana and drugged driving" »

Driver who was texting charged in Route 410 bicycle accident

August 29, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

The Washington State patrol says that texting and alcohol were factors when a pickup truck driver struck a bicyclist on State Route 410 near 166th around 10pm on Thursday.

The pickup truck driver faces vehicular assault charges. Washington State vehicle code RCW 46.61.522 states that a person can be charged with vehicular assault if a person is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving recklessly, driving under the influence of an intoxicant or driving without regard to the safety of others.

The unidentified bicyclist is a Bonney Lake man, 43. He is at Good Samaritan Hospital with undisclosed injuries.

The pickup truck driver is a 23-year-old man from Lake Tapps. The Washington State Patrol reported that he drifted onto the shoulder where the bicyclist was riding.

A conviction of vehicular assault can result in serious penalties including revocation of driving privileges.

In addition to criminal charges, victims of vehicular assault can file a civil suit requesting compensation for their damages which can include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages and pain and suffering.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been the victims of negligent drivers. With our help, you obtain compensation for your damages.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "Driver who was texting charged in Route 410 bicycle accident" »

Injured in a car accident caused by driver high on pot?

July 7, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

drugged driving victim lawyerAs pot shops legally open in Washington state this week, the concern is that there will be an increase in driving under the influence or drugged driving associated car accidents.

A lot of marijuana users claim that they drive better under the influence of pot than under the influence of alcohol but a report by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that fatal car accident involving people under the influence of marijuana has tripled in the past 10 years.

According to Dr. Guohua Li, Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, one of nine drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents test positive for marijuana.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, legal drugs, cannabis or illegal drivers is a significant problem in Washington State. Studies show that drivers who are under the influence of marijuana have slower reaction times, are more likely to drift out of their lane while driving, and are impaired in their ability to estimate distance and time.

While experts and studies conflict over how and how much marijuana impairs a driver, smoking just .3 grams of marijuana can leave a driver four to five times over the legal limit. Hours after smoking this amount, people can still test above the legal limit.

Marijuana, when used in combination with alcohol, appears to multiply alcohol's effect and increase impairment.

Washington and Drugged Driving

Even though Washington state has legalized pot for recreational usage, it is still illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance that can impair ones driving ability.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one killed in a drugged driving crash, Herbert Farber of The Farber Law Group, will find for your legal rights to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and other losses.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "Injured in a car accident caused by driver high on pot?" »

Are the number of alcohol-related car accident deaths under-reported?

March 24, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

dui.jpgThe United States has been making great strides to reduce alcohol-related car accidents, reducing serious injuries and fatalities related to drinking and driving in the past two decades . Drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more has declined substantially since 1991.

Despite the drop in drunk driving, it is estimated that 10,600 Americans were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012. Intoxicated driving factors in 31% of all motor vehicle accident deaths every year.

While the progress against drunk driving is laudable, a new study by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities are under-reported.

Researcher Ralph Hingson believes the underreporting occurs because 30% of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents do not undergo blood alcohol testing or their death certificate is issued before blood alcohol testing results are back from the lab. Death certificates provide data for the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which provides traffic accident statistics.

The reporting of alcohol involvement in motor vehicle accident also varies from state to state with some states including New Mexico and Nevada having low reporting numbers.

Washington State Car Accident Fatalities

Washington state has a population of nearly 7 million people. In 2012, there were 409 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 444 deaths. Washington state has one of the lower deaths per 100,000 population with 6.4 car accident deaths. Of the deaths where the BAC results of the driver was known, there were 69 drivers killed with a BAC of greater than 0.08%.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, or a family member has been killed, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. The Farber Law Group aggressively advocates on behalf of drunk driving victims and their families. With more than 30 years of trial experience, we will work hard to obtain the settlement you deserve.

Continue reading "Are the number of alcohol-related car accident deaths under-reported?" »

Female drunk drivers on the rise?

February 17, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

king county car accident lawyerI was in Los Angeles last week when I read a horrific news story in the Los Angeles Times about a wrong way drunk driver who collided head-on with another vehicle resulting in the death of six people. The driver of the red Camaro was speeding at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

At first glance, I assumed that the wrong way driver was a young man because the car involved was a red "muscle car" and that the driver was speeding. I was wrong. The driver was 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath. All evidence points to the fact that Culbreath was driving under the influence at the time of the car accident. This was not her first driving under the influence arrest, she was convicted of drunk driving when she was 17 years old. Now she faces a lengthy jail term.

Prior to the horrific crash, at least 17 people had called 911 to alert authorities. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing could have been done to stop her that night. She killed a family of four and her own two passengers, one of which was her sister.

This accident points out the chilling fact that since the 1980s, the number of women arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) are female. Women are more likely to be using another substance and have mental disorders than males arrested for DUI.

In the greater Seattle area, we have had a few incidents of female wrong way female drunk drivers. In one, incident, a 60-year-old woman drove more than 17 miles on Interstate 5 in the wrong direction. In January of this year, a woman was arrested in downtown Seattle after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in the early morning hours. In September of 2013, Kelly Ann Hudson was convicted of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for killing an 81-year-old Kirkland woman and critically injuring one other person. Hudson was drunk and under the influence of prescription drugs when her car crossed the centerline and struck a small car head-on.

Women and Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is the number one reason women come into contact with the criminal justice system. Nationally, arrests for drunk driving is on the rise in the female population and has risen from the single digit numbers in the 80's to almost 30% in 2007. In 2008, the Federal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) revealed that 1,837 people were killed in car accidents involving females driving under the influence.

A North Carolina study showed that between 1976-1985, alcohol-related crashes rose in the female population compared with a 27% decline among males in the same age group.

The following are some characteristics of female drunk drivers:

  • A New Mexico study found that 85% of females convicted of DUI had a alcohol problem.
  • Female DUI offenders are often diagnosed with a problem with opiates or other medications.
  • The average age of a female on their first DUI is 31. However, there seems to be a trend in which young women are being involved in risky driving behaviors.
  • Female DUI drivers are more likely to be single or divorced.
  • A 2000 New Mexico study revealed that females convicted of DUI have a lower recidivism rate than males but a more recent study in Maryland found no lower recidivism rate.

Continue reading "Female drunk drivers on the rise?" »

WSP troopers arrest I-5 wrong-way driver

January 24, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

autolights.jpgThe Washington State Patrol arrested a woman for investigation of driving under the influence after she drove the wrong way on Interstate 5 early this morning.

The WSP says that the woman entered I-5 in downtown Seattle around 4am this morning and drove and south on the northbound lanes.

Washington state troopers stopped the woman after she attempted to exit the highway near Southcenter.

Wrong-way drivers are a problem on our highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that 3% of all car accidents and 5% of all traffic fatalities are as a result of wrong way drivers.

The major cause of wrong-way driving is intoxicated driving. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs , they can be confused, especially at night time.

Wrong-way driving can often result in a head-on collision, the most dangerous kind of accident which can result in catastrophic injuries or death.

Continue reading "WSP troopers arrest I-5 wrong-way driver" »

MADD upgrades Washington state in Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving

January 20, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

Mother's Against Drunk Driving has issued their 2014 Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving -- Report to the Nation and it has upgraded Washington State from 3-Stars to 4-Stars -- on a 5 Star rating system -- since 2012 because of the State's continued efforts to curb drunk driving.

MADD's campaign to reduce drunk driving focuses on enforcement of existing drunk driving laws, enhancing current laws and utilizing technology such as ignition interlock devices.

Ignition Interlock

Since 2006, 19 states have strengthened their drunk driving legislation, requiring all drivers convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device. Ignition interlock devices prohibit drunk drivers from getting on the road in the first place and reduces repeat DUI offenders.Washington passed the ignition interlock law, RCW 46.20.385 in 2009.

Ignition interlock devices are essentially breathalyzers which are connected to a motor vehicle's ignition system and prohibit a driver from starting their automobile if their blood alcohol content is at prescribed percentage. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people arrested for the first time for driving while under the influence have, on average, driven drunk at least on 80 other occasions.

The ignition interlock system has been so successful nation-wide that, in July 2013, there were more than 305,000 ignition interlock devices installed nationwide.

Sobriety Checkpoints

drive_sober.jpgThe one area where MADD would like to see Washington State improve their enforcement of drunk driving laws is introduce sobriety check points. MADD claims that sobriety checkpoints could decrease drunk driving accident deaths by 20% by deterring drunk drivers.

In Washington, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission along with local law enforcement run emphasis programs with names such as "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" or "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" in which law enforcement runs emphasis patrols to target drunk drivers.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in auto accidents caused by drunken drivers and the family of those who have been killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "MADD upgrades Washington state in Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving" »

Drunk drivers endanger themselves, their passengers and other motorists on Washington roadways

January 9, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

The Farber Law Group, a Washington car accident attorney, represents people who have been seriously injured by drunken drivers. The clients we represent are innocent victims who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes our clients are small children, teenagers, and the elderly who were traveling in the same vehicle as the drunk driver.

It is especially tragic when a parent entrusts the care of their own child to a friend, a family member, a bus driver, or a babysitter and, unbeknownst to them, that person drives drunk. Sometimes the parents do not know that their child was endangered until there is an accident.

One example of this was in September 2013 when a 36-year-old school bus driver, Melissa Forrest, was charged with DUI after she rear-ended a wheel chair van. She had students on her school bus at the time of the bus accident.

Children injured in drunk driving accident

closed-825531-m.jpgThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 211 children 0 to 14 years old were killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2011. In half of those accidents, the child who died was in the same vehicle as the drunken driver.

Children who are riding with drunken drivers are also at risk because impaired drivers are less likely to properly buckle a child up. One study revealed that in car accidents where children were killed, sober drivers had properly used child restraints in 30.5% of the time compared with 18% for drivers who had been drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes that drivers who drive with children in their vehicle when they are impaired are committing a criminal act of child abuse.and child endangerment and has worked tirelessly to increase penalties for these drivers. In Washington state, if an impaired driver is convicted of drunk driving with a passenger under the age of 16, child endangerment laws allow for an additional six months of using an ignition interlock device and an increased fine.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. Our personal injury law firm represents Washington car accident victims and the family of those who have been killed. If you have been the victim of a drunk driver, you are entitled to seek damages including medical costs, loss of wages and for pain and suffering.

Continue reading "Drunk drivers endanger themselves, their passengers and other motorists on Washington roadways" »

Cell phone users help get drunk driver off the road

January 2, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

seattle car accident lawyerKOMO News reports the Washington State Patrol said that 911 received 14 911 calls on New Year's Day from people reporting an erratic driver on Interstate 5 on New Year's Day near Lakewood.

Witnesses called 911 operators reporting seeing a blue Dodge Durango weaving, driving up onto the shoulder and even running into the median.

Washington State Patrol troopers were able to locate the driver after some witnesses followed the vehicle and reported its location. By the time troopers located the driver, his vehicle had been disabled after he struck the median multiple times. While the driver tried to leave the accident scene, he was apprehended by troopers.

The Troopers credit involved citizens from preventing an injury accident.

Spotting a Drunk Driver

This event shows how concerned citizens can protect themselves and other drivers from drunk drivers. If you see any of the following driving behaviors, don't hesitate to call 911 as these may be signs of a drunk driver:

  1. A driver who suddenly accelerates or decelerates.
  2. A driver who is tailgating or following other drivers too closely.
  3. A driver who is weaving and changing lines often.
  4. A driver who is steering off of the road and on shoulders or lanes not designated for motorists.
  5. A driver who stops without a reason or who brakes often.
  6. A driver who fails to signal or signals and then does not follow through.
  7. A driver who stops suddenly or delays a start.
  8. A driver who consistently drivers over lane markers.
  9. A driver who is travelling more than 10 miles below the speed limit.
  10. A driver who abruptly turns.
  11. A driver who is driving the wrong way against traffic.
Steps to Take if You Are Sharing the Road with a Drunk Driver

Drunk drivers on the road endanger the lives our families and friends. If you witness a driver exhibiting behaviors of drunken drivers, you should know what to do. The following are some tips:

  1. Keep a distance between you and the other driver.
  2. Do not pass the erratic driver or try to get them to pull over.
  3. Note the road name and the vehicle's license number and make, model and color of their vehicle.
  4. Pull over and call 911 and provide identifying information to the 911 driver. The Washington State Patrol or other police authorities will take it from there.

Continue reading "Cell phone users help get drunk driver off the road" »

Driver eluding police in stolen car hits car, seriously injuring family

November 29, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

A 25-year-old man driving a stolen car collided with a car and injured a family of four in South Seattle last night around 6:00pm. Injured in the accident was a father, his 7-year-old son who was thrown from the vehicle, a 5-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl. The injured were taken to Harborview Medical Center and the 5-year-old and 12-year-old are reported to be in critical condition.

The chain of events began when a man stole a car near Rainier Avenue South and South Othello street according to the Seattle Police Department. The owner of the car got into another car and chased the car thief. A Seattle Police Department officer started following the vehicle on Rainier Av S near S. McClellan Street.

The car thief ran through an intersection at 23rd and S. Grand, striking a vehicle driven by a man with his three children on board.

The car thief was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of injuries. He will be charged with Vehicular Assault and grand theft auto and there may be other charges against him as well. Police found drugs including cough medicine and marijuana on the man.

Vehicular Assault is a serious charge and a person can be charged if a person sustained substantial bodily harm and the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug.

Vehicular Assault is considered a class B felony and can result in a prison term of ten years and/or a substantial fine.

As a Bellevue car accident attorney, we have seen far too many victims of accidents involving drunk or negligent drivers. When a car accident results in serious injuries such as this family suffered, we understand that there are no words to express the trauma that this family has suffered.

Continue reading "Driver eluding police in stolen car hits car, seriously injuring family" »

Woman enters guilty plea in Kirkland fatal car accident

September 30, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

iStock_000017490446XSmall.jpgKelly Ann Hudson pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving in the car accident that killed Joyce Parsons, 81, of Kirkland and critically injured Arthur Kamm.

The fatal car accident occurred in August of 2012 when Hudson, was driving her minivan south on Juanita Drive Northeast, crossed the centerline near NE 120th Street and struck a small car driven by Kamm head-on.

It was determined that Hudson was driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs when the car accident occurred.

Hudson will be sentenced on November 22 and faces between 8-1/2 years and a little more than 11 years in prison under stricter Washington state sentencing guidelines that went into effect June 2012. The prosecutor is recommending that Hudson receive the higher end of the sentencing range.

Vehicular homicide can be charged if a person is killed in an auto accident and the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving recklessly or driving without regard to the safety of others.

Women and DUI's -- An increasing problem

More and more women have been getting arrested for driving under the influence. In fact, a recently published study revealed that between 1998-2007 there was an increase of 28.8% in the number of females arrested for DUI.

Female DUI offenders are different than for male DUI drivers. The study found that the arrested women were 75% likely to also be taking a prescription medicine for mental issues. A trauma
such as a death in the family, a relationship break up or losing a job often occurred prior to the DUI arrest. Female DUI profiles were generally in one of the following categories:

  • Women who were drinking to fit in - often young women use alcohol as a social lubricant.
  • Women who were recently married with a newborn can sometimes use alcohol to combat the stress and loneliness of child rearing.
  • Women who were empty nesters or divorced

Just 10 days ago, Seattle's King5 TV reported a story about a woman who was arrested for DUI twice in the same day. Laura Kelsch, 58, was arrested after she crashed her vehicle into a Black Diamond gift store. Kelsch was found to be three times the legal limit. Because of crowded jails, police impounded Kelsch's car and took her home. A few hours later she was arrested again, still intoxicated and driving her husband's truck.

Women metabolize alcohol differently than men. The reason is that women have less body water than men of a similar weight and they metabolize alcohol differently. Female hormones may also intensify alcohol's effect on women.

Continue reading "Woman enters guilty plea in Kirkland fatal car accident" »

New study profiles women arrested for DUI

September 13, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

women_and_drinking_info.jpg
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada has just released the results of a study, "Female Drunk Drivers: A Qualitative Study History and Experiences in the System." The study reports that, since 1998, the number of women arrested for DUI has risen 28.8%.

According to the FBI, in the 1980's, under 10% of all DUI arrests were women but since then, the number has risen to 25%.

One of the most worrisome factors involved in female drunk driving is that women are combining prescription medications with alcohol. The study found that 75% of all women arrested for DUI were taking at least one prescription for anxiety or depression.

Medications like Valium, Prozac, Klonopin and Xanax can be lethal when mixed with alcohol and they most certainly affects someone's driving ability. Xanax is sedating and when mixed with alcohol, a depressant, can cause lack of coordination, mental fogginess and drowsiness. In fact when Xanax and alcohol are mixed, the user can cause extreme cognitive and physical impairments.

Women reported that they had experienced a traumatic event in their life prior to their DUI arrest including divorce, loss of a job or a death in the family.

The mixing of alcohol and prescription drugs is a huge factor of why we have seen women involved in wrong way car accidents. Female DUI offenders are more likely than male offenders to also have a substance abuse problem or to be using alcohol with medications.

Are women drinking more than ever? Washington State University professor Jennifer Schwartz says that women may not be drinking any more but they are driving more.

Women and Men Metabolize Alcohol Differently

Studies show that women and men metabolize alcohol differently. Compare two people, a man and a woman both weighing 140 pounds. If they both drank two drinks in one hour the man would measure a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.38 while the woman's level would be .048.

Women get drunk faster than men because of their smaller body size, higher levels of body fat as well as hormonal differences. Men also have a higher concentration of water in their body, around 61% compared with 52% for women.

Continue reading "New study profiles women arrested for DUI" »

Driver who hit and killed Federal Way bicyclist charged with vehicular homicide

September 10, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue injury lawyerDara Keo, 30, will be arraigned on charges of Vehicular Homicide in the bicycle accident death of Craig Cronister, 44, who was struck while riding his bicycle in Federal Way on August 30.

Cronister was riding his bicycle on the shoulder of Military Road south when Keo's vehicle swerved out of his lane and hit Cronister. Cronister died the next day at Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle after life support was removed. Read Bicyclist critically injured in Federal Way accident.

Prosecutors, who are charging Keo with vehicular homicide, maintain Keo was stoned on marijuana and prescription drugs when he hit and killed Cronister. A witness reported that Keo was driving erratically prior to the accident.

The Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim said that Cronister claimed, "I have a medical marijuana card so it's okay" when he was interviewed by police. The court is awaiting the results of Keo's blood tests for drugs however his breathalyzer test tested negative for alcohol two hours after the motor vehicle accident.

Washington Vehicle Code RCW 64.61.520 "Vehicular Homicide" states that a driver can be charged with vehicular homicide if a person was killed as a result of a motor vehicle accident and the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If a driver is convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence, the sentencing range is between 78-102 months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 30 Americans are killed every day because of an impaired driver. In 2010 alone, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents. Alcohol is only one of many substances that can impair a person's ability to safely drive a car. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs and prescribed marijuana can result in DUI charges. Whether a person is using legally prescribed muscle relaxers or marijuana and choose to drive a motor vehicle, it is still an illegal act. A prescription is not a defense in a driving under the influence charge.

Testing for Drug Impairment

All states in the U.S. define a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher to be illegal. Alcohol is processed by the body in a rapid fashion so it is quite easy to take a measurement right after a car accident to determine the level of intoxication. Breathalyzer tests and blood tests are very accurate so measuring a BAC is quite easily achieved.

Testing for other drugs is not quite so easy. A person's body metabolizes THC,the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana, much slower. THC can be detected in a person's urine or bloodstreams weeks after a person consumed the drug and there is no correlation between level of impairment and THC in the bloodstream. In a trial, Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are allowed to provide specific testimony on observation of a driver's behavior, eye movements and results of field sobriety tests to establish whether the person was under the influence.

Continue reading "Driver who hit and killed Federal Way bicyclist charged with vehicular homicide" »

Bellevue woman taken to Harborview after I-90 car accident

August 12, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

Angela Christoulis, 20, of Bellevue suffered a serious arm injury Sunday morning when the car she was riding in went off of Interstate 90 in Issaquah and landed in a creek.

The single car accident around 2:40am when the car driven by an unidentified 20-year-old man from Woodinville, struck a guardrail and went off the highway and down a ravine.

The man was booked into King County jail. The Bellevue Patch did not say what charges the man faces but did say that the Washington State Patrol believes alcohol may have been a factor in the accident

If it is determined he was driving under the influence, he may face serious charges of Vehicular Assault. Washington vehicle code RCW 46.61.522 finds that a driver can be charged with vehicular assault if he or she seriously injures someone in a car accident while driving recklessly or while under the influence.

According to the report, both Christoulis and the man driving the car were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident which could have prevented any more serious injuries or even death.

The Washington State Patrol is seeking witnesses to the crash. Detectives and Troopers are seeking witnesses that may have seen the collision or any event leading up to or following the crash.  If you have any information or know somebody that does, please contact Detective Greg Wilcoxson at (425) 401-7746 or Detective Russ Haake at (425) 401-7717.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.

Continue reading "Bellevue woman taken to Harborview after I-90 car accident" »

Washington Governor signs new DUI bill into law

July 19, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

It was an emotional day for the families of those killed by drunken drivers as they witnessed Washington state Governor Jay Inslee sign new legislation which strengthen penalties for repeat DUI offenders.

The new law, which goes into effect on September 28, requires that a driver who has been arrested on suspicion of DUI and has a previous conviction to be arrested and charged in a timely manner and install an interlock device on their vehicle within five days of being charged. If convicted, the new law also increases sentencing guidelines.

The second part of the new law institutes a pilot program in up to three counties and two cities to daily monitor those convicted two or more times of DUI. The monitoring portion of the law will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

Inslee said, "No law can bring these loved ones back but we must move forward in preventing even more loss of life on our roads."

In attendance at the bill signing was Dan Schulte whose parents were killed and wife and baby son were critically injured when a drunk driver struck them while walking in a Seattle crosswalk. Also in attendance was Frank Blair whose daughter, Sheena, was killed in 2010 by a wrong-way driver.

According to the Washington State Patrol (WSP), approximately 40,000 people are arrested on suspicion of DUI every year with have of the arrests made by the Patrol and the other half of the arrests made by local law enforcement.

Repeat DUI Offenders

drunk driving accident lawyer seattleEvery year, approximately 9,800 people are killed in a drunk driving accident and one in three fatal traffic accidents involve drunk driving. One-third of the drunk driving accidents, fatalities, injuries and arrests involve repeat offenders, people who have already had been convicted of a drunk driving offense. Unfortunately, taking away a driver's license is not enough, with up to 75% those who have had their license revoked driving again.

It is chilling to think that there are 2 million drivers on the road today that have had three or more drunk driving convictions. That is why many are calling for requiring ignition interlock devices to be installed on the vehicles of anyone convicted of DUI.

Continue reading "Washington Governor signs new DUI bill into law" »

Washington state senate bill seeks changes to DUI laws

June 27, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

The Washington state legislature has been working on toughening Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws. Senate Bill 5912 seeks to modify provisions of existing laws related to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

SB 5912 proposes to increase the penalty for DUI with a child in the vehicle, increase mandatory sentencing, create aggravating circumstance for driving the wrong way while intoxicated, prohibit DUI courts from deferring sentences and, one of the bills most prominent provisions, is a requirement that a person arrested on suspicion of DUI after a previous DUI conviction be charged within 48 hours.

SB 5912 also creates a pilot program which provides for 24 hour monitoring of DUI offenders in two cities.

The changes in the law were proposed after two horrific DUI accidents in which three people were killed and two others critically injured. In both of these accidents, the DUI driver had been arrested for prior DUIs in the months prior to their fatal car accident.

In the one accident, Morgan F. Williams of Seattle was killed on her way to work by a DUI driver who was driving the wrong way on SR 520 in Seattle at 5:30am. Michael A. Robertson has pleaded guilty to Vehicular Homicide in this case and faces a 10 year prison sentence and for a previous DUI charge in Tacoma.

In another Seattle drunk driving accident, Mark W. Mullan was driving drunk when he struck four people in a Seattle crosswalk. Killed in this accident were Judy and Dennis Shulte who were in Seattle spending time with their son, daughter-in-law and newborn grandson. Their daughter-in-law and 10-day-old grandson were critically injured in the accident. After the accident, it was discovered that Mullen was arrested for DUI just three months prior to the accident that killed the Shultes and again just two months prior to this fatal accident.

Many people are critical of the legislature for not going to far enough in providing penalties for DUI drivers. Some are seeking a mandatory prison sentence after a first conviction or banning driving altogether after a DUI conviction.

Continue reading "Washington state senate bill seeks changes to DUI laws" »

How safe is your 'designated driver'?

June 24, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue drunk driving car accident lawyerThe Farber Law Group represents many people who have been seriously injured due to motor vehicle accidents caused by a drunken driver and the family of those who have been killed. We often write about the myriad ways that Washington state and King County are working to combat alcohol-involved car accidents.

For many years, the concept of a "designated driver" has been promoted to reduce alcohol-involved car accidents. A "designated driver" is a person who abstains from drinking alcohol at a social event in order to drive his/her family members and friends home safely. But now a new study begs one to answer the question, "How safe is your designated driver?"

Often the "designated driver" is the one in the party that appears the least intoxicated or has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the evening. In this scenario, the designated driver can still be at risk to other motorists on the highway and every passenger in the car.

A study, Breath Alcohol Concentrations of Designated Drivers, published by by Adam E. Barry, PH.D., Beth H. Chaney, PH.D., and Michael L. Stellefson, PH.D., of the Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FLA suggests that, in up to one-third of their study participants, the designated driver was impaired.

In a similar study conducted by NPR, young adults leaving a bar were asked to take a breathalyzer test on a Saturday night. In that study, 41% of those that were the designated driver had consumed alcohol and 20% had been drinking to the level where they measured impaired.

When drivers consume alcohol before they drive, they can still be impaired even if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is only 0.02%. In the United States, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for impaired driving is 0.08% but in 100 other countries, the BAC limit is 0.05% or lower. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been asking states to lower their BAC limits to 0.05% because even under 0.08%, a driver can be impaired.

So, unequivocally, the safest designated driver is one who refrains from alcohol completely.

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Should the DUI level be lowered?

May 31, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue drunk driving car accident lawyerThe National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that the blood alcohol content levels be lowered from 0.08% to 0.5% in charging motorists with driving under the influence.

There are many factors that affect one's blood alcohol content (BAC) including gender, weight, physical condition, medications and food. For a 140 pound woman, she would have to drink about 2 drinks in a 4 minute period to obtain a .05% BAC. For a man of 180 pounds, he would have to drink three or more drinks to measure at 0.05%

While the BAC levels for drunken driving is set by each state, the federal government is pressuring the states to adopt new standards.

Traditionally, there has been great opposition to lowering the BAC limit. The American Beverage Institute that represents 8,000 restaurants says that the change in the law would be targeting moderate drinkers while more than 70% of drunken-driving fatalities are caused by drivers which twice the current legal limit.

Compared with many other western countries, the U.S. has one of the highest DUI limits. Our neighbor, Canada, has the same standard as the U.S. at 0.08%. However, France, Greece and Germany and many other European nations have a 0.05% limit and some have a zero limit for young drivers.

Certainly a lower DUI limit would save lives in Washington state. It is estimated that by lowering the limit to 0.05%, the risk of a car accident would be reduced by half.

According to Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, "This [lowering legal limits] is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers."

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2 women killed in separate Seattle car accidents

May 3, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

We have seen two fatal car accidents in Seattle in the past week. While both accidents are under investigation from the Seattle Police Department, it is possible that both accidents were alcohol-related. That is even more tragic because, if that is the case, both of these accidents could have been prevented.

The first accident occurred in the South Park area of Seattle around 11:15pm. Vickey Tilson, 51, was killed when a Chevy pickup truck went through a chain-link fence, drove the wrong-way on Highway 99 and hit Tilson's Dodge Caravan minivan head-on.

Tilson's husband and 13-year-old son were critically injured in the accident and were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The driver of the pickup truck was reported to be a 44-year-old woman from Tukwila. She was driving southbound on West Marginal place when her truck went through the fence and traveled south.

At this point, there are no further details available.

In another accident, a young woman who was a passenger in a car traveling on Interstate 5 near Sixth Avenue in Seattle was killed when she was thrown from the car she was riding in when the driver lost control of the vehicle, struck a barrier and the young woman was thrown from the car.

Police said that the young woman was packed in the back seat with other passengers and that may have been the reason she was not wearing a seat belt. According to a report on KING5.com, the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol and now faces charges of Vehicular Homicide.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 9,878 people killed and around 350,000 people injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved alcohol last year. In Washington State, legislators have worked hard to stiffen DUI penalties. Washington has one of the lower DUI car accident death rate in the nation but one death is one too many and in the greater Seattle area we have seen at least four car accident deaths in the last 30 days.

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Olympia man killed in car crash, friend arrested for DUI

April 25, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

vehicular%20homicide.jpgA 20-year-old man has been arrested after crashing his 1987 Honda Accord into a tree, killing his passenger this early this morning.

The Olympian, in an article written by Chelsea Krotzer, reports that the single car accident occurred on Cooper Point Road near 34th Avenue Southwest around 12:31am.

The driver of the Honda was treated for his injuries at Providence St. Peter Hospital and then booked into Thurston County Jail on suspicion of Vehicular Homicide. He admitted to "drinking, smoking meth and marijuana" prior to the crash according to the report.

Vehicular Homicide, Washington vehicle code RCW 46.61.520, can be charged if a person is killed in an auto accident and the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving recklessly or driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.

Those convicted of Vehicular Homicide while intoxicated face of sentencing range of 78-102 months in prison.

The family of the deceased may seek justice in civil court by filing a wrongful death claim against the driver and his insurance company. While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, a settlement can help provide for burial and other expenses.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent victims of drunk driving and their families. With more than 30 years experience, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.

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