When the driver of a vehicle is convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), in most states the usual consequence is a suspended license, mandatory jail time, and fines. Once the suspension period is over, the driver may be allowed to have the license reinstated with a restricted license limited to driving to and from work with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed. The IID is handheld breathalyzer that prevents the ignition from engaging if alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. In many states a driver convicted of DUI must take driver education courses and enroll in an alcohol treatment program. Automobile insurance rates will rise. The purpose of laws regulating alcohol and substance-related driving offenses is to make our roads and highways safer for other drivers.
The consequences for drivers driving under the influence are stiff, as they should be due to the danger a drunk driver poses to self and others, but a few years ago a city bus driver with sleep apnea who worked for PACE Bus Company in Chicago as the driver of a paratransit vehicle was involved in a few traffic accidents. His license was suspended for three months and was then reinstated. The driver was not required to undergo driver’s education or a medical treatment program, nor was his performance monitored. Within four weeks, the driver showed up to work after a late night of partying and fell asleep at the wheel, killing a 68-year-old woman. The family filed suit, and recently, agreed to a $13 million dollar settlement.
The victim, Brenda Burse, was returning home from church when the driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed lanes of oncoming traffic, left the road, and crashed into a tree. She is survived by a daughter and a husband of 53 years. The driver admitted to the police that he had cocaine and alcohol in his system. He has since been arrested and charged with DUI and negligent driving. The City of Chicago is also looking into filing criminal charges against the driver. This accident was truly tragic, as the driver should never have been on the road, much less driving a paratransit vehicle, especially when his record with the company revealed a recent crash due to his medical condition.
Unfortunately, serious bodily injury and wrongful death from drunk driving like this one happen more often than they should including in Florida. In 2022, there were approximately 5,179 car accidents from impaired driving due to alcohol, which resulted in approximately 3,017 injuries and 384 fatalities. In the first six months of 2023, there have already been over 2,000 alcohol related car crashes with over 1,000 resulting in injury and 61 in death. These accidents, injuries and deaths never should have happened had the operator exercised the necessary care, caution and restraint to refrain from driving a vehicle after drinking.
We at The Datny Law Firm take very seriously the duty to vigorously pursue claims against anyone injured or killed in an accident especially those resulting from gross negligence and driving under the influence like in this tragic bus crash. Due to recent legislation shortening the time for a victim to file claim in Florida, time is of the essence after a car accident including one cause by a drunk driver. Do not wait to seek legal help. Our Boca Raton Car Accident Attorney and Wrongful Death Lawyer David B. Datny is available any time at 561-221-7474. Consultations are always FREE and there is no fee unless we resolve your case.