Drunk driving: A serious problem for California motorists

Many California residents and tourists enjoy having a few drinks while relaxing one of the state's amazing beaches. When people choose to drive after drinking, however, they risk the lives of innocent motorists and pedestrians. Drunk driving accidents continue to be a serious problem in San Diego County and in other counties across the state.

In 2013, approximately 28.9 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths in California were caused by drunk drivers, as reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This was a 4.6 percent increase from the year before. Despite numerous attempts to curb drunk drivers by using sobriety checkpoints and other statewide DUI programs, people continue to climb behind the wheel while intoxicated.

In December 2014, an Oceanside woman was arrested and charged with suspicion of felony DUI after causing a catastrophic collision, according to Fox 5 San Diego News. The 41-year-old woman, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time, swerved onto the wrong side of the street and smashed into an oncoming vehicle. Two people that were traveling in the vehicle that was hit head-on were severely injured. The passenger riding in the woman's vehicle died at the scene of the accident.

Interlock device pilot program

Although most California courts have the option of ordering first-time DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, a pilot program in four California counties requires it. All convicted DUI offenders in Sacramento, Tulare, Los Angeles and Alameda Counties must use an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, regardless of how many prior offenses they have or their BAC level. If the pilot program proves to be successful at reducing the number of drunk driving traffic fatalities and lowering the number of intoxicated drivers on the road, then it may become a state-wide law.

Identifying common behaviors of drunk drivers

California law enforcement officers, as well as MADD representatives encourage motorists to look for the warning signs of drunk drivers on the road. These include drivers who are:

  • Following too closely
  • Driving erratically, switching in and out of lanes
  • Stopping abruptly and then quickly accelerating
  • Signaling, but not consistent with driving actions
  • Driving too slow or too fast
  • Straddling the lanes, without committing to a lane

A person who notices these behaviors and calls the proper authorities may help prevent a tragic car accident, and could help to save a life.

When to call a legal professional

People who suffer from severe physical and emotional trauma or have lost a loved one because of driver's decision to drive drunk, may want to contact a California attorney. You may be eligible for compensation for your lost wages from work, medical expenses, pain and suffering.