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Austin Drunk Driving Related Accidents

Drunk driving kills. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. During SXSW, a bicyclist was hit and killed by an intoxicated driver. And now, during ACL an intoxicated driver drove off after hitting a cyclist on South 1st. See how we can all end drunk driving injury together.

In Austin, alcohol was suspected to be a factor in 60% of the 102 fatal crashes of 2015*.

Face of Anti Drunk Driving Campaigns Dies at 40

Jacqueline Saburido, who suffered severe burns in a drunk driving crash in 1999 has passed away at the age of 40.

She dedicated her life to raising awareness around the devastating effects of drunk driving crashes.

Her hope was for people to see the horrific damage caused by drunk driving. By seeing her, drivers would never need to be in an accident to learn the lesson of drunk driving dangers.

The 1999 crash near Lake Travis took the lives of two of Saburido’s friends and left her with severe burns.

April 22, 2019, Saburido passed away in her home country of Guatemala due to cancer. Her message lives on in the powerful warnings she sent out with her words.

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.
  • 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.

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

Discouraging Drunk Driving

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.

Proving Fault In Drunk Driving Accidents

A drunk driver behind the wheel has the potential to seriously injure or kill another person. In Texas, this negligent behavior can be charged with a felony DUI or DWI when a crash causes harm or death to another. A San Marcos woman was recently arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. Drunk driving crashes happen too often. Being able to prove liability in the crash can be very important to crash victims and their families.

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.

*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.

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The McMinn Law Firm has helped injured Austinites for fifteen years, winning over 100 million dollars in settlements to date.

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Better Business Bureau (BBB) bases its ratings on information provided by the business, and on public data sources. McMinn Law Firm's A+ rating is the highest available.
In the years 2013-2014 and 2016-2019, Justin McMinn has been selected each year as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. Jason McMinn has been selected as a Super Lawyer in 2020., a company that evaluates and recommends local service professionals, placed McMinn Law Firm on their list of 20 recommended car accident attorneys in Austin.

What Past Clients Are Saying

"Jason, Justin, and their entire support team represented me in an accident involving an 18 wheeler. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, and maybe as importantly, the service along the way was something you would want as a client, their entire team was amazing! I can with great confidence recommend them to friends, family, and to anyone who happens to read this. Thank you McMinn Law Firm for a job well done!"

- Charles

"The McMinns were amazing. Within two days of my accident – and still barely able to move – I received a visit to my house for personal consultation (on a Saturday). All the initial feedback about my potential case turned out to be 100% accurate, and when it finally came time to settle they didn’t back off an inch. …If you’re hurt, make the call."

- Harry

"I was rear ended by a large truck. Am thankful for Justin and Jason and their team and all the hard work they put into resolving my case! I highly recommend that you contact them if you’re injured in a wreck!"

- Lori M.

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