What is Considered Drunk Driving?
The law defines drunk driving as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. That number, 0.08%, is where most people experience serious visual impairment, as well as reduced concentration and coordination.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a drunk driving accident, you might have a case. At Pringle & Herigstad our experienced Minot drunk driving accident attorneys can evaluate your claim and help you pursue compensation.
Is Buzzed Driving Drunk Driving?
Most everyone knows not to let a drunk person get behind the wheel. It’s a piece of common sense ingrained into us through commercials, billboards, public service campaigns, and any outlet discussing safe drinking habits. However, most people are unsure if the same applies to buzzed driving.
Buzzed driving doesn’t have an official legal definition. Most consider a buzz to lie within the range of 0.02%- 0.07% BAC. Driving while under this limit is not illegal, but a police officer may choose to detain drivers who seem unsafe to drive, regardless of their BAC.
Does a Buzz Impair Driving Ability?
Emerging research suggests any impaired driving dramatically increases the risk of causing an accident. Some researchers have even suggested that any BAC above 0.00% makes someone unsafe to drive and more likely to cause a crash.
Understanding the risks requires an analysis of how BAC affects people.
- 0.02%: Slight vision distortion, reduced reaction times, easily distracted.
- 0.05%: Difficulty tracking moving objects, slowed reactions, poor coordination.
- 0.08%: Blurred vision, reduction of fine motor skills, impacted decision making.
Keep in mind that, legally, a driver is considered “safe” until 0.08% BAC, despite the obvious risks. A study by the University of California San Diego found that even a driver at 0.01% BAC is 40% more likely to be found at-fault for a car accident.
What to Do When You Encounter a Drunk Driver
One of the most dangerous things you can encounter on the road is a drunk driver. However, far too often, individuals aren’t sure of the best ways to deal with this type of negligence. They’re quick to try and pass the drunk driver and do nothing else. This can be a serious mistake.
When you encounter a drunk driver on the road, whether when driving or in a crash, you should know what you need to do moving forward. Here are three things that you should do in this situation to keep yourself as safe as possible.
- Never Pass a Drunk Driver. Make sure you’re not trying to pass a drunk driver. This can lead to a significant accident as drunk drivers are prone to change lanes erratically, swerve into multiple lanes, and can crash into you. Instead of passing the drunk driver, make sure you stay back or pull off the road completely to avoid a confrontation.
- Report the Drunk Driver. You can use a hands-free device to contact 911 and report the drunk driver. You’ll be asked what the make and model of the vehicle is, if you got the vehicle’s license plate number, and where you’re currently traveling. The more information you can give law enforcement, the better the chance is they’ll be pulled over and stopped before causing an accident.
- Avoid Any Confrontation. In the event you are involved in a collision with someone you believe to be a drunk driver, make sure you contact local law enforcement to report the accident quickly. If you have police on scene, you can diffuse any situation in which the drunk driver may become volatile or combative. If you feel threatened, make sure you stay in your vehicle. If the driver leaves the scene, make sure you can describe them as much as possible.
In a crash where you suffer severe injuries, you need someone on your side to pursue compensation when you need it most. Our North Dakota car accident lawyers at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. work to help you every step of the way to pursue the most favorable outcome possible for your case.
Dram Shop Laws in North Dakota
Imagine encountering a drunk driver on the road. You’re in the lane next to him or her, and suddenly, the intoxicated driver swerves right into your lane, hitting your vehicle and causing a severe crash. In these situations, the drunk driver is responsible for the crash because of his or her decision to drive under the influence.
However, just because you have legal rights against the drunk driver doesn’t mean that’s where your options end. In North Dakota, dram shop liability can still play a role in drunk driving accidents and recognizing how these laws help you is essential to pursuing the compensation you need and deserve.
What Does the Law Say?
The dram shop laws in North Dakota are detailed under Centennial Code section 5-01-06.1 and it covers the various persons who may be liable when a drunk driver causes severe injuries in a crash. Essentially, the law states that a bar, establishment, or other party sells, gives, or otherwise provides alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21 and/or already visibly intoxicated.
It is the responsibility of the person serving the alcohol to recognize when a patron has had too much to drink and is inebriated. For instance, if a bartender notices a guest slurring words and stumbling around, the bartender can be liable if he or she continues to serve the already intoxicated person and that individual proceeds to cause someone else harm.
What About Social Hosts?
Because the dram shop laws in North Dakota are broad, this extends to social hosts. For instance, if someone is hosting a party and invites numerous friends over for drinks. When someone is visibly intoxicated, the social host has a responsibility to either stop providing them with alcohol or to prevent them from driving.
A social host can be the subject of a drunk driving accident lawsuit whenever he or she proceeds to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and that person causes harm.
At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we’re committed to helping you fully understand your rights and options after an injury. Our North Dakota drunk driving accident lawyers stand ready to hold all negligent parties accountable for their actions, working to safeguard your best interests every step of the way.