VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

President Trump calls for action to combat drunk driving

Florida residents are likely aware that intoxicated drivers are a major concern for law enforcement agencies during the holiday season, and President Trump has brought additional attention to the issue by designating December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. In a Nov. 30 proclamation, he lamented the number of road users killed each year in accidents involving drunk drivers, and he pledged to provide additional resources to the nation's police departments to help them combat the problem.

Alcohol was once a factor in about two-thirds of all fatal car accidents, but a combination of rigorous law enforcement, growing awareness and powerful public information campaigns helped to reduce the annual death toll significantly. However, drunk driving deaths have now increased alarmingly for two consecutive years, and the president feels that a similar coordinated effort is needed once again. According to government figures, accidents involving alcohol impaired drivers claimed more than 10,000 lives on America's roads in 2016.

In addition to allocating more resources to law enforcement, the president vowed in his proclimation to ease the regulations faced by ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. He also pointed out that all Americans have a duty to monitor their own behavior and speak up when one of their friends or family members attempts to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

Those who have been harmed in impaired driving accidents generally pursue civil remedies by filing lawsuits against the drunk drivers involved, but experienced personal injury attorneys may also initiate litigation against the bar that provided the alcohol in certain situations. Under Florida's dram shop law, bars or restaurants may be held responsible for the accidents caused by their patrons when they serve alcohol to individuals who are younger than 21 years of age or are known alcoholics.

Source: The Florida Legislature, "The 2017 Florida Statutes", accessed on Dec. 12, 2017

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