One of the most reckless forms of driving is when an impaired person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. This puts not only that person’s life in danger but that of other drivers, as well as occupants and even pedestrians.
Learn some of the DUI statistics in the state of West Virginia and legal action that you may take if you or someone you love has been the victim of an accident involving an impaired driver.
DUI Accident Statistics in 2011 & 2012
According to The Century Council, in 2011 there were 91 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state of West Virginia. Nine of those deaths involved drivers under the age of 21. It’s important to note that in 75 percent of the fatalities, blood alcohol content (BAC) levels were .15 or higher and all of the cases were repeat offenders.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012 there were 95 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involving a BAC of .08 or higher in West Virginia.
The following are the counties that experienced the greatest number of alcohol-impaired fatalities:
- Berkeley County – 7;
- Kanawha County – 7;
- Cabell County – 6;
- Greenbrier County – 5; and
- Hampshire County – 5.
DUI Laws in West Virginia and How They May Impact an Accident Claim
A motorist can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher. However, those under the age of 21 may face DUI charges if BAC is .02 or higher
West Virginia follows implied consent laws. This means if someone is driving a vehicle, then that person has given consent to submit to a chemical test. The consequences for refusing to take the test depend on the number of offenses.
For a first time offender, it could result in a license revocation for a year (or 45 days plus one year ignition interlock device). For second and subsequent offenders, licenses can be revoked for 5 to 10 years.
Of course, drivers will face penalties if they are guilty of drunk driving. However, a driver can still be considered impaired even without reaching a BAC of .08 or higher.
While it may not be considered a crime to drive with smaller amounts of alcohol in the system, if someone is injured or killed, then it may be considered a crime and BAC results can help determine fault in an accident. This would be necessary in order to file a claim against the driver.
One of the best ways to show the other driver was at fault is to obtain the results of the chemical test. If the other driver was issued a citation for DUI, this would likely be indicated on the police report. It would be important to get a copy of it. An attorney can help obtain these and other importance pieces of evidence.
Benefits of Seeking Legal Counsel
Whatever the cause of an accident, if you sustained serious injuries, seek legal counsel to protect your legal rights. With the potential to face escalating medical bills, missed time from work and suffering other damages—such as pain and suffering—it’s important to know your legal options. Of course, if a family has lost a loved one in an accident it’s just as critical to speak with an attorney.
DUI accidents are especially grievous events. These reckless actions can cause total devastation to victims and their families. Because of the importance in gathering ample evidence to show the other driver’s negligence and limits in the timeframe for filing, don’t delay contacting an attorney. Call 304-931-4088 or use our online contact form to set up a consultation with an attorney.