Drive anywhere in Florida and you'll see signs blazing the warning to all would-be drinkers: "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
It's pretty much universally agreed that drunk drivers are a massive danger to both themselves and others. It's also pretty much universally agreed that some people, no matter how much they're warned against drunk driving and no matter what penalties they may face if they are caught, are still going to get behind the wheel while they're inebriated.
By now, everybody knows that drunk driving isn't just a bad idea -- it's illegal. Yet, there are plenty of people who will still get behind the wheel of their vehicles after having a few drinks. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 5,000 crashes involving confirmed drunk drivers in the state in 2018 alone.
A crash involving a drunk driver in Valrico sent six people to the hospital -- including two Hillsborough County police deputies.
You do your best to be careful when you're out there on the road, and you understand that defensive driving is important. But how do you protect yourself against something like a drunk driver?
Parenting a teenager can be hard. On one hand, you don't want to condone any bad behavior -- like drinking. On the other hand, you know that it's important to address the realities of life. You can't be with your teen every moment of the day or night, so they may sometimes experiment with alcohol (even if they're still underage).
Every year, thousands of people in Florida and across the country are severely injured in car accidents caused by drunk drivers. In fact, drunk driving has been one of the leading causes of injury crashes for over 100 years. With the wide range of advances in driving technology, however, it may be possible to stop drunk drivers and seriously cut down on the number of catastrophic crashes. One automaker is installing technology that aims to eliminate drunk driving without relying on breath test technology.
According to a recent study, about 12 million people over the age of 16 admitted that they had driven while under the influence of marijuana at least once during the calendar year 2018. Additionally, 2 million people admitted to driving under the influence of other illegal drugs.
It probably would not take statistics to demonstrate to Florida residents that drunk driving is rather common around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Several posts on this blog have discussed how, in some cases, an injured victim in the Tampa Bay area can recover punitive damages after the victim has suffered an injury in a car accident. A review of punitive damage in Florida may therefore be helpful.