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Almost everyone understands the dangers associated with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, texting and driving, distracted driving, and talking on our smartphones while driving. Yet there has been very little information available about driving while tired. Drowsy or tired driving can be just as serious as these other poor driving decisions and could result in causing a serious accident and being sued by a Denver accident lawyer on behalf of an injured party.
Riding a motorcycle is all about feeling free and alive and living on the edge. But, along with that excitement, motorcycles have an increased risk of accidents and injuries. Motorcyclists are far outnumbered by cars, trucks, SUVs and other motor vehicles and many drivers are unaware of the risks facing those who ride.
It’s frustrating when you’ve suffered a personal injury that’s not your fault. You really want to focus on your recovery and not worry about who’s going to pay for your medical bills, how will you pay your bills and take care of your family when you can’t work.. Unfortunately, for most of those injured in an accident, your life is soon filled with calls from your insurance company, paperwork from law enforcement and doctor appointments. That’s when a personal injury lawyer can be of great benefit to you.
When you’ve been in a car or motorcycle accident in Colorado, you may feel your injuries immediately or you may feel just fine. But all accidents are traumatic to the victim in some way. They can cause emotional, mental, and physical symptoms. However, in many cases, you could experience delayed symptoms which may not show up until several days after an accident has occurred.
Auto accidents in Denver claimed 40 lives in 2013. 16 of the 40 deaths were attributed to drunk-driving collisions.
Clearly, all Denver residents should know best that drinking and driving is highly dangerous. Even so, many lives are lost in Denver year-in-year-out to drunk driving. Many more locals suffer critical injuries, with some being life-long, as some drivers fail to follow driving best practices.
4 Case Studies that Indicate the Reality of the Issue
Case Study 1
In august, 2013, a 38-year-old cyclist was hit head-on early one evening on a Friday on Lookout Mountain Road. According to Fox 31 Denver, the driver was a 20-year-old that reportedly crossed a double yellow line. Apparently, he was driving at a high speed rate.
The young driver faced several criminal charges including a homicide felony. The accident left friends and family of the victim mourning their dead loved one. The driver got 10 years in prison.
Case Study 2
A 50-year-old drunk driver hit a 17-year-old girl and her friend in September, 2014. According to the ABC 7 News in Denver, one of the girls died on the spot. The drunk driver was also texting when the accident occurred. The girl who survived the crash was still unable to walk, one year later.
The drunk driver who hit the girls had recently been sentenced to 28 years in prison as punishment.
Case Study 3
In another collision, a passenger in a Jeep that collided was pinned under the vehicle. According to CBS Denver, the drunk driver ramped into a concrete freeway support. His alcohol blood content read 0.163%. He was charged with DUI and vehicular homicide; offenses that would see him spend a maximum of six years in prison.
Case Study 4
A police officer got back to his vehicle along the I-25 Denver stretch after stopping a potential drunk driver. He was hit by a second drunk driver, while in his car. The driver was charged with vehicular assault.
The auto accident, according to ABC 7 News in Denver, involved four cars. The officer incurred serious injuries and ended up in hospital.
In 2013, 142 people died, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as a result of drunken driving collisions in Colorado. 25 of those deaths were experienced in El Paso County. Denver County was ranked second with 16 accident deaths. These two counties account for more than a quarter of all the deaths experienced in Colorado in 2013.
We can not stress enough the importance of drivers not driving while drunk as one of the best driving practices to help curb DUI accidents in Colorado.
Denver Personal Injury Attorney
Many people suffer serious injuries or even death due to drunken driving accidents, a clear issue in the county. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, Denver personal injury attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm can help you navigate your claim and get the treatment and justice you deserve.
Distracted Driving in Denver – The Major Distracter, Use of Mobile Phones
The Colorado law protects the rights of distracted driving victims.
In 2014, Colorado witnessed 486 road fatalities, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation, with 43 of the accidents reported in Denver.
During the same period, many more motorists were seriously injured during the collisions. This is a true reflection of the constant risk and unending danger motorists in Denver face while on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the major causes of fatalities in Colorado. However, it’s the easiest to prevent. Focusing on driving and paying attention on the road on the part of drivers can help reduce collisions and thus save many lives.
In 2013, according to NHTSA, distracted driving caused more than 3,100 deaths in the wider US nation. If drivers focused on the road and avoided distractions, lives lost through such accidents would have been saved.
A Denver car accident lawyer can help victims of distracted driving to file claim for damages and injuries afflicted during such crashes.
The Use of Mobile Phones – The Number One Cause of Distracted Driving
Mobile phone use is the most widespread issue in matters regarding distracted driving. More than 660,000 drivers, according to NHTSA, use their phones every moment, every day.
Each time a driver decides to use his or her phone to text or make a call, they divert their attention and eyes off the road for at least five seconds. When travelling at 55 mph, this time is enough to cover the length of a football field hence the risk of causing a fatality.
Colorado has laws in place that restrict drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. For instance, drivers below 18 years are not allowed to use mobile phones while driving, whatsoever. However, drivers at least 18 years old are allowed to make phone calls only; no manual entering of information onto phones like texting.
However, drivers have exceptions in the law on usage of their mobile phones when contacting a public safety entity or having an emergency like the need to report a fatality, fire, criminal act or even a road hazard.
A distracted driver while using a mobile phone can be fined $50 for a first offence and $100 for a second offence. However, they are legally obliged to pay for damages caused.
Denver Car Accident Lawyer
Victims of distracted driving, specifically a texting driver, can use the services of a Denver car accident lawyer to file for compensation for injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and even pain or suffering caused. We invite you to contact the Bendinelli Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your situation.
Just like other plaintiffs, DUI victims have legal rights to protection and compensation for damages and injuries caused by auto accidents through the services of an accident lawyer in Denver. Moreover, criminal convictions can provide evidence of negligence in such cases.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there’s increased use of marijuana by Colorado drivers. In 2007, drivers who were suspected to be under the influence of drugs tested positive for marijuana. They made up 28% of all the suspected drivers. In 2008, the figure shot up to 43%, 45% in 2009 and 58% in 2010.
According to a local police, Sgt. Mike Bell, “What we’re seeing is an increase of, probably, marijuana use in the car. There’s a definite increase in drivers using medical marijuana as an excuse. However, they have nothing to do with the drug.”
Over 16% of all fatal auto accidents that took place in Colorado between 2007 and 2010 involved drivers under the influence of drugs. Drugged driving can lead to serious consequences on the highways and state streets in terms of fatalities.
These fatalities lead to serious spinal cord and brain injuries or even lifelong impacts on passengers, motorists and pedestrians.
Although the use of medical marijuana is legal, it can cause intoxication for those behind the wheel. Therefore, drivers under the influence of drugs must compensate victims for injuries, damages or even death caused in case of a fatality.
Drivers involved in crashes should look out for incoherent speech, red or glassy eyes or the smell of cannabis in other drivers as signs of drug use. Drivers that notice any of these signs should make notes for use when informing law enforcement officers or making statements.
Evidence of Drug Use by Colorado Drivers
Evidence of drugs and intoxication in the blood of drivers are two different things. Drivers who test positive for drugs upon suspicion of being intoxicated might have difficulties when it comes to blame evaluation. Employers usually test their injured professional drivers involved in crashes for drugs.
Even if a driver uses drugs off-job and wasn’t responsible for causing a fatality, he or she risks being fired and losing wages, if traces of drugs are found in the body system.
Accident Lawyer in Denver
Such drivers and other victims of auto or truck accidents can seek the services of an accident lawyer in Denver for rights protection and filing for compensation. The Bendinelli Law Firm offers complimentary consultations and our friendly staff are available to discuss the details of your case.
More than 330,000 commercial trucking accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), occur every year in the U.S. and these crashes result in thousands of death and injuries on a yearly basis.
Crashes involving commercial trucks like tractor trailers, semi trucks, box trucks, delivery vans or 18-wheelers, and small passenger vehicles usually see occupants of the latter vehicles sustain the worst kind of injuries in the accidents.
This is where a Denver truck accident attorney comes in to help victims navigate the legalities of filing a claim for the injuries or damages incurred.
Top 4 Causes of Commercial Accidents in Denver, Colorado
There are several causes of commercial trucking accidents, just like in the case of car crashes. Although truck drivers are usually at fault and the major cause of trucking fatalities, there are other factors that can lead to serious road crashes.
- DUI – is a major cause of road accidents. Drivers use stimulants to keep awake for prolonged periods on the road. Any mishap or error on the part of a truck driver under influence can easily cause a crash due to the heavy nature of commercial vehicles.
- Distraction – emailing, texting, chatting on social networks, surfing the internet, using the GPS device, drinking, eating, reading books, using a road map, changing music or even watching a DVD while driving can cause distraction. The moment of distraction is enough to cause an accident.
- Drowsiness – it is common for truck drivers to overstretch their load delivery goals or mileage to improve their pay scales. As a result, many truck drivers skip critical breaks to rest, forge log books and fail to get enough sleep for prolonged periods.
Fatigue is as good as drunk driving and can cause serious fatalities.
- Poor Maintenance of Vehicles – trucks, just like cars, require regular maintenance for optimal performance. Oil changes and maintenance services done on brakes and transmission systems are meant to keep vehicles in good working condition.
Failure to carry out such routine maintenance means vehicles can fail on the road. This can lead to serious fatal crashes.
Other Causes – defective engine components, poor road designs, faulty tires, poor weather conditions and other motorists failing to follow driving best practices can also cause fatalities.
Denver Truck Accident Attorney
All victims of car or commercial trucking accidents have legal rights and insurance companies do not always act in your best interest. A Denver truck accident attorney can help protect the rights of accidents victims, helping file claim for injuries and damages caused. Contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than 26,000 people are arrested for drunk driving incidents in Colorado every year. Unfortunately, the drunk drivers police officers don’t catch are responsible for more than 150 fatal traffic crashes where alcohol played a key factor. By those numbers, drunk driving accounts for more than 30% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado.
While researching this alarming trend, CDOT discovered that males ages 21-35, a key DUI demographic, do not believe in “buzzed driving.” In short, they think it is acceptable to have “just a few drinks” before getting on the road, if they’re not visibly or noticeably impaired. What they don’t realize is that alcohol affects everyone differently, and any amount of intoxication is still against the law.
Last year during this time, CDOT launched a campaign called “A Few Can Still Be Dangerous,” to remind drivers that any and all impairment on the road can still affect a driver’s vision, judgement, and reaction time.
As part of the campaign, CDOT is encouraging drivers to use modern technology for additional safety options. For example, personal breathalyzers are now widely available, and some even attach directly to the driver’s smartphone. Last Labor Day weekend, CDOT employees hosted an event that allowed bar patrons to test their intoxication levels using these devices. They hoped the the event would encourage responsible alcohol use, and cut down on the number of Labor Day DUIs. The event attracted more than 3500 people. They also encouraged use of Uber and Lyft, ridesharing companies that are often more convenient than traditional cabs.
Unfortunately, warnings and education are not enough to deter repeat offenders, who often struggle with alcohol addiction. According to the Denver Post, one in three drivers arrested for DUI has a previous DUI arrest. In a state that has almost 30,000 drunk driving arrests every year, this can amount to 10,000 repeat offenders on the road at any given moment. In a three-year span, police re-arrested 5,679 people who had two or more DUI arrests, and 84 offenders had ten or more.
Is DUI a Felony in Colorado?
For many years, Colorado was one of the only four states that did not have a felony DUI offense. It was nearly impossible to ban repeat offenders from the road permanently. If the driver caused an accident, he or she would only be charged with a misdemeanor, even if the innocent victim was severely injured.
However, the Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed a felony DUI bill into law in 2015. The event took place in Wheat Ridge at Lifeloc Technologies, a manufacturing company. Family members and victims of DUI accidents, as well as law-makers who put pressure for stern action to be taken against DUI drivers, were present.
According to the Democrat, “The government world is measured in steps. You rarely get big change. However, this is a pretty big step.”
The law took effect later in August last year (2015) and makes drunk driving a felony. Every time a driver is charged for the fourth time for DUI, he faces up to 6 years behind bars as punishment. Previously, Colorado gave drivers misdemeanor charges with a maximum of one year imprisonment as punishment.
Although only a small fraction of the offenders will possibly get jailed for accidents that result from DUI, the increase in expenses incurred by prisons and judicial systems will see about $20 million spent in the first 3 years.
According to one of the people in attendance, who lost 3 family members in a drunken-driving accident, after the signing of the bill, “It is a bittersweet feeling. I feel like I’ve been putting off my need to grieve and I know that after today, it will hit me hard, knowing this is now over.”
Drunk drivers don’t just endanger their own lives, but also put everyone on the road at risk. If the driver has been warned repeatedly, their actions move from negligence to outright defiance of the law and complete disregard for the safety of others. In these cases, criminal laws may not be enough.
Personal Injury Attorney Denver
When criminal laws fall short, a Denver personal injury attorney can help you get justice. Civil lawsuits offer a crucial legal alternative for victims, allowing them to recoup losses, and hold reckless drivers personally accountable.
If you have lost a loved one to a drunk driver, or been seriously injured yourself, schedule a free consultation with Bendinelli Law Firm. Our experienced legal staff knows the law inside and out, and we can help you get justice while protecting future drivers from unnecessary pain and suffering.