MARYLAND DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT CASES
Drunk or Impaired Driving Accident Cases in Maryland
About one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. Every state has its specific laws addressing drunk driving. All fifty states and Washington D.C., legally require drivers’ blood alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.08% or less. Although drunk driving incidents have reportedly declined by half over the last thirty years, drunk driving remains a problem in Maryland and the United States. By understanding the law regarding drunk driving accidents, victims can begin to understand the value of their case.
Maryland Drunk Driving Laws
The State of Maryland prohibits drinking and driving or driving while under the influence of drugs. If you drink and drive penalties may result in arrest, fines, license suspension, or jail time. In Maryland, there are two types of drinking and driving offenses, driving while under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI). Each is a separate cause of action. In Maryland, the relevant law regarding each cause of action is Md. Code, Transportation §21-902, §11-174.1.
Driving While Under the Influence (DUI)
The first, and most severe offense, is driving while under the influence. A person who has a BAC of .08 or higher is assumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Driving while under the influence also refers to any drug or controlled substance that impairs the driver. With a .08 BAC, Maryland considers you to be under the influence of alcohol “per se.” Meaning, the state would not have to show other evidence of your drinking. Furthermore, in Maryland, any person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have consented to take a field test, if they are pulled over for suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
The second offense is driving while impaired. DWIs in Maryland are considered less serious offenses than DUIs. DWIs are when a driver’s BAC is between 0.07 and 0.08 percent. Drivers often pass a breath test with results below the legal limit, but still exhibit other signs of impairment, such as driving erratically. Maryland still views this level of impairment as dangerous and therefore prescribes criminal sanctions accordingly.
Maryland Statistics on Accidents Involving Drunk Driving
The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) publishes annual reports on the number and causes of automotive accidents throughout Maryland. These reports examine factors that cause the accident such as, time of day, type of road, the severity of injuries, and ages of drivers. By examining the relationship between these variables and the accidents which occurred, auto safety experts identify methods of reducing crashes and collisions.
In 2016 the state of Maryland passed the Drunk Driving Reduction Act. This act increased penalties and extended suspension for impaired drivers. The creation of this act overall helped to decrease the number of impaired drivers in the state. With an average of 2.59 deaths per 100,000, Maryland currently ranks 8th lowest for the number of impaired driving deaths per capita. Even still, accident statistics involving drunk drivers are staggering. According to the Maryland Highway Safety Plan, impaired drivers caused one in three fatal crashes. Further, impaired drivers were the cause of one in ten crashes overall and nearly one in ten crashes that resulted in injuries. In Maryland, the average number of accidents involving an impaired driver is 7,400. In Maryland, nearly half of all impaired driving accidents happen in the Baltimore-Towson area, and one-third occur in the greater Washington area. Although the total number of crashes has declined, these statistics remain a source of concern.
Drunk Driver Injury Lawsuits
If you get injured by a drunk driver, you can sue them for damages just like with any other accident. If someone gets in an accident while driving under the influence they are automatically deemed to be at-fault. The basic damages in drunk driving accident case are the same as any other tort case.