Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Victims

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 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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Two people were injured in a head-on collision on Stevens Pass on Saturday evening around 5:19pm.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the car accident occurred 25 miles west of Coles Corner when a car driven by Mark E. Stansfield, 61, of Quincy, crossed over the centerline and hit a Hyundai driven by Matthew A. Zastoupil, 35, of Stanwood.

Injured in the accident was Renee Zastoupil, who was a passenger in the Hyundai. Stansfield was also injured.

Head-on collisions can often have devastating consequences because of the high forces involved. These types of accidents often result in serious injuries and sometimes even death. Injuries are often a lot worse when there are two mismatched vehicles involved such as a semi truck and a passenger vehicle. Head-on collisions account for only 2% of all traffic accidents but result in 10% of car accident deaths.

Head-On collisions are usually caused by negligent driving. Over the years, we have seen many head-on collisions on Highway 2 including on Stevens Pass. In fact there have been more than 20 “crossover” accidents involving fatalities on this section of Highway 2 since 1999. These can be caused when a driver is speeding and fails to negotiate a curve on the road, while passing, or when a driver is drowsy and drifts into the other lane.

Injuries in head-on collisions can be very serious including head injury, fractures, whiplash, lacerations or internal injuries.

The Farber Law Group has helped hundreds of families who have suffered due to head-on motor vehicle collisions. We will work hard to help you obtain compensation for the associated costs of your accident including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and the cost of care.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a head on collision, contact us today. We will give your case the individual attention it deserves.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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