I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. An August 18 single vehicle accident caused disruption and an injury of the driver along Watt Avenue in North Sacramento. A vehicle, for unknown reasons, went off the roadway and struck a power pole in the area. As a result, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the pole was sheared off and laying across Watt Avenue, necessitating its closure while repairs were made.
Details of the Crash
The car accident happened along Watt Avenue southbound just south of Arden Way shortly before 6:00 in the morning when a 2014 Hyundai Sonata left the road and crashed into a pole. Due to the impact of the collision, the pole was underneath the vehicle, which was along the right-hand side of the road. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District was called in to perform repairs to the damaged power pole. The Sacramento Fire Department was also contacted to the scene to render aid to the injured driver. The extent of the damage to the vehicle is not yet known. Officers with the CHP responding to the accident called in toxicology experts to the scene to test the driver for possible drugged or drunk driving.
How Do They Test for Drunk Driving After an Accident?
There are several ways a driver can be assessed for driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The first is observation. The police officer will determine if there is a reason to believe the driver is intoxicated. If so, the driver will be asked to exit the vehicle, and perform a series of tests referred to as field sobriety tests. An alternate means of determining intoxication is by using a standardized Breathalyzer to measure the concentration of alcohol in an air sample. On other occasions, a blood sample will be taken either at the site, in a hospital or at a police station. Blood tests are used to test for drugs also. Often, drug recognition experts are called to the scene.
Drunk Driving Kills
Approximately 10,000 victims are killed each year in this country by drunk drivers. That translates into one person dying somewhere in the country every 50 minutes. In 2016, 10,497 people died nationwide. The California Office of Traffic Safety reported that out of 4,502 accidents in the city of Sacramento, 429 were due to drunk driving in 2015, the last year for which the state provides detailed data. Sacramento ranks second among 15 cities of similar size in the state.
Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol has an effect on a person’s cognitive ability, dexterity, reasoning, and coordination. All of these attributes are needed to drive safely. As a person drinks more alcohol, there is a corresponding greater effect on their central nervous and other systems. Let’s look at the effects of alcohol at different concentrations:
- 0.02 percent: At this amount, the person will experience relaxation and a change in mood. He or she will also be not as capable of tracking an object or multitasking, both tasks which are essential when driving.
- 0.05 percent: At this level, the driver will have a sense of mild euphoria and display exaggerated behavior. Their alertness and their inhibitions will be decreased as will their judgment. Muscle control might be affected, resulting in poor coordination. This means the driver may have difficulty steering, be less able to track another vehicle or respond to an emergency.
- 0.08 percent: Reaction time, speech, balance, hearing, and vision are all affected. Judgment, memory, and reasoning are also impaired. When driving, speed control, information use, and perception are affected.
- 0.10 percent: By this point, a driver’s speech is slurred, their reaction time is grossly delayed, and their ability to think clearly is impaired. When driving, they find it next to impossible to stay in their lane and apply the brakes appropriately.
Reporting a Drunk Driver
If you suspect that another driver is drunk, you have the right and the duty to yourself and others to report him or her and prevent serious injury caused by a car accident. If your cell phone operates hands-free, call 911. Give the 911 representative the location of the vehicle as precisely as you can. Also, provide the make, model, and color of the car as well as the license plate information if you know it. Even a few numbers will help authorities. Let the police know why you think the driver is drunk as clearly as you can.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. When you are injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you might suffer serious injury. Medical debt and lost time from work can harm you financially. An experienced injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve, giving you peace of mind during recovery. Reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
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