Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
Driver charged in hitting, killing a bicyclist on East MLK Jr. Boulevard
Austin, TX | March 15 2017
A driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated after he hit and killed a bicyclist in east Austin on Tuesday of SXSW.
The collision happened on East MLK Jr. Boulevard near the Scottsdale Road intersection. Both the bicyclist and driver were traveling eastbound at around 11:40 p.m. Austin emergency services gave the bicyclist Charlie Bunton Jr., CPR but pronounced him dead shortly afterward. Bunton was 53.
“If we had safer infrastructure, hopefully we’d like to think the person would’ve been safe,” said Bike Austin executive director, Mercedes Ferris.
She adds that “But unfortunately since the driver was drunk, we really can’t make that decision.”
The driver, 38-year-old Joshua Brosemer stayed at the scene of the crash.
Tragedies like this can only be prevented when we all make a commitment to drive sober. Find out more about the investigation of this crash at the Statesman.
This is the 12th traffic fatality in Austin of 2017.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 34. Every day an average of 28 people die in an alcohol-impaired driving accident. Austin is proud of it’s designation as the “Live Music Capital of the World” but less so of it’s drunk driving statistics. In 2015 McMinn Law Firm analyzed traffic fatality reports released by Austin Police Department.
In Austin, alcohol was suspected to be a factor in 60% of the 102 fatal crashes of 2015*.
Drinking and driving is a serious offense that can have serious consequences on the greater Austin community. Consequences of a drunk driving accident can include fatality, and injury. Together we can work to prevent drunk driving crashes.
Types of injuries from drunk driving crash
Some alcohol related injuries can be fatal. It is estimated by CDC that on average a person dies every 45 minutes from an alcohol related crash in the United States. However not all injuries are fatal.
Some non-fatal injuries can include:
- Whiplash is a very common occurrence following a car accident. Believe it or not, whiplash can play a very serious role in injury victim’s health . Those who require treatment for backlash can require hospitalization, prescription of painkillers, and time off of work to recover from their injuries. In total, experts estimate that whiplash could account for $30 billion a year in whiplash compensations.
- Broken bones can occur in slip and fall accidents, but they happen in car accidents as well. Most common bones can be the feet, arms, or even collar bones. Broken bones require serious medical attention in order to fix, which may include the inconvenience of a cast or even surgery. Find out more about an Austin broken bones attorney here. https://www.mcminnlaw.com/personal-injury-lawyers/austin-broken-bones-attorney/
- Knee damage – Though knee damages are not as common as back injury or whiplash, the injuries do occur and can be very serious. They can occur in side-impact, head-on and rollover collisions when a part of the vehicle caves in on the driver’s knees. The patella, or kneecap, can fracture. Typically surgery and physical therapy is needed to recover.
- Back injury – In a car crash back injury can be common. A drunk driver may not be paying attention to upcoming construction traffic on I-35, resulting in a victim’s severe back injury. Alcohol could compromise a driver’s ability to maneuver their vehicle through a red light. Back injuries are common in drunk driving accidents.
- Spinal cord injury Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury. Symptoms may be life altering or cause a person to experience a loss of mobility, sensation or coordination.
- Traumatic brain injury – vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of TBI. 14% of all cases begin with a motor vehicle accident. Each year as many as 1.4 million Americans experience a TBI and 4% are fatal injuries.
- Face and head injury – Air bags do much to protect drunk driving car accident victims in the event of an accident. In the event that an airbag fails to deploy, face and head injuries can occur. In some instances the face will smash into the steering wheel, breaking the nose, jaw bone, or fracturing the jawbone. Less serious and more common are lacerations and abrasions to the face and scalp. Deployed airbags may cause burns.
Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn recently settled a case involving a spinal discectomy surgery. A Pflugerville woman was hit by a commercial truck operator who had multiple previous traffic violations. The client of McMinn Law Firm was able to secure a settlement for a client in need of discectomy surgery Read on to see how APD may be working to prevent dangerous drivers from getting back out onto the roads.
These are just some examples of the types of injuries that can occur in a drunk driving accident. 38% of all spinal cord injuries are caused by truck, car and motorcycle accidents
Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Proving fault in drunk driving accidents
A person is considered unsafe to drive in Texas if the have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. Simply being in a crash may be enough for “reasonable suspicion” of driving while intoxicated. A toxicology report may be included as part of the crash record form conducted by the local Texas police force. The discretion to conduct a toxicology report is at the discretion of the officer in Texas.
The amount of intoxication can play a role in a case. For example if the driver was significantly over the legal limit following the crash, then a competent personal injury attorney may be able to prove gross negligence or secure punitive damages beyond the value of the injuries.
If drunk driving is evident in a crash, then a victim may be able to make claims on the at-fault driver. In addition, the family of a fatal crash victim may be able to pursue a wrongful death law suit.
Preventing Intoxicated Driving Crashes
There are more than a couple of ways that driving while intoxicated is discouraged in the United states. These include measures that are currently enforced through law enforcement. Some of these include:
- Actively enforcing existing 0.08% BAC laws
- Using sobriety checkpoints
- Minimum legal drinking age
- Zero tolerance for drivers younger than 21 years of age in all states
You may have heard stories (or have a few of your own) of drinking in the dorms. Depending on your age and location, drinking at age 18 may have been legal. The Drinking Age Act of 1984 Between 1970 and 1975 the legal drinking age was lowered in many states when political pressure called for the states to lower the voting age to 18 from 21. This pressure mounted primarily from the Vietnam War in which young men were old enough to be drafted into military service but had no means of influencing the people opting to send troops into war. Slogans such as “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” became central to the political reform that moved the drinking age to the age of conscription.
However these changes made at the state level would soon be effectively reversed. When data released in the early 1980s showed a correlation between an increase in motor vehicle deaths with the decreased minimum drinking age, legislators started to reconsider. With the political leverage of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed. States were forced to move legal drinking age to 21 or else risk losing 10% of all federal highway construction funds.
Want to know more about ways in which Austin police are working to reduce the number of alcohol related traffic deaths? APD is considering impounding vehicles of repeat offenders. Learn more about the proposal here.
What safety steps can individuals take to prevent drunk driving accidents?
Talk to your friends and family about drunk driving. Open up the conversation about drunk driving with friends and family. Ask about how they are getting home or pay attention to how many drinks they have had. Make it clear that it’s OK to sleep on the couch if a sober ride isn’t possible. Most importantly, don’t let your loved ones get behind the wheel when you feel they may be unsafe to drive.
Safety tips to prevent buzzed driving:
- Before going out, decide on a designated driver
- When hosting a party, provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages
- Watch to make sure all guests leave with a sober driver
- Uber and Lyft may have left Austin – but check out McMinn Law Firm’s list of sober alternatives to drunk driving
*Numbers are based on the police reports that indicated that a toxicology report was pending, and or the vehicle operator was indicated as under the influence or intoxicated.