Drunk Driving Can Ruin Lives

Recently, a drunk driver hit a golf cart with a newlywed couple inside. In this horrific drunk driving crash in Folley Beach, South Carolina, a newlywed couple left their beachfront reception and hopped in a golf cart with two family members – it’s legal to drive golf carts on public roads in many places in SC – and were hit by a drunk driver doing 65 mph on a 25 mph road.

The new bride was killed on impact. AP New reports that the groom sustained “a brain injury and numerous broken bones after the golf cart rolled over several times and was thrown 100 yards (91 meters).” He has already undergone two reconstructive surgeries. Per ABC News 4, “a responding officer… saw multiple victims laying throughout the crash site…. The other patients were in and out of conscious, the officer said in the affidavits, noting that two had ‘open fractures and massive trauma to the body.’”

The drunk driver sustained no injuries.

Miami is a popular wedding destination. We have miles of gorgeous beaches and world-renowned restaurants. The city proper has many popular bars and night clubs. It’s sunny and beautiful here, so we get a lot of couples looking to tie the knot and enjoy the city.

Drinking is common at weddings and at those nightclubs and restaurants. That means that drunk driving is also a problem.

Why is drunk driving so dangerous?

Alcohol impairs brain function. This impairment is why people may choose to drink in the first place; it makes them feel “loose” or relaxed. It can also trigger the brain to release dopamine, the “reward” chemical. Dopamine makes people feel good. Thus, people feel good when they drink.

But this is not the only effect on the brain. The other effects are what make drinking and driving so dangerous. Northwestern Medicine explains it like this, breaking it down by the level of alcohol in someone’s system:

  1. Subliminal intoxication. With a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.01 – 0.05, this is the first stage of intoxication. You may not look like you have been drinking, but your reaction time, behavior and judgment may be slightly altered. Depending on weight, most men and women enter this stage after one drink.
  2. During the early stages of drinking, your brain releases more dopamine. This chemical is linked with pleasure. During euphoria, you may feel relaxed and confident. But your reasoning and memory may be slightly impaired. Often referred to as “tipsy,” this stage occurs when your BAC is between 0.03 and 0.12.
  3. At this stage, with a BAC from 0.09 to 0.25, you are now legally intoxicated. This level of intoxication affects the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe in your brain. Drinking too much can cause side effects specific to each lobe’s role, including blurred vision, slurred speech and hearing, and lack of control, respectively. The parietal lobe, which processes sensory information, is also affected. You may have a loss of fine motor skills and a slower reaction time. This stage is often marked by mood swings, impaired judgment, and even nausea or vomiting.
  4. A BAC of 0.18 to 0.3 often looks like disorientation. Your cerebellum, which helps with coordination, is impacted. As a result, you may need help walking or standing. Blackouts, or the temporary loss of consciousness or short-term memory, are also likely to occur at this stage. This is a result of the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is responsible for making new memories, not working well. You may also have a higher pain threshold, which may increase your risk for injury.

(Once a person makes it to a BAC of .25 or above, they show signs of alcohol poisoning. This can lead to a coma or even death.)

Impaired judgment, loss of motor skills, and altered reaction time: all are a result of drinking, and all these effects get worse the more you drink.

Now, think about what driving requires: good, sound judgment; fine motor skills; quick reaction times. Even before you turn the key, you need to be able to see clearly – it’s why cars come equipped with windshield wipers for the rain. Yet alcohol often causes blurry, fuzzy vision.

Why is drinking and driving dangerous? Because it affects the very skills and abilities you need to engage in the act of driving. And while those negative effects will worsen as a person drinks more, you don’t need to be “legally” drunk to be dangerous behind the wheel.

Why people in open vehicles may suffer more serious injuries when hit by a drunk driver in Miami

In Florida, the use of golf carts on our roads is governed by Fla. Stat. Sec. 316.212.  Subsection (1) of that statute is the primary section which provides in relevant part as follows:   golf cart may be operated only upon a county road that has been designated by a county, a municipal street that has been designated by a municipality, a two-lane county road located within the jurisdiction of a municipality designated by that municipality, or a road that is owned and maintained by a water control district and has been designated by that water control district, for use by golf carts.

Florida also allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on “unpaved roadways where the posted speed limit is less than 35 MPH and only during daylight hours.” And of course, you can ride a motorcycle on any road in Florida at any time, provided you have a motorcycle endorsement and your bike has mirrors and headlights. You’re also required to wear a helmet (if you’re under the age of 18) and safety goggles/eyewear.

In the South Carolina crash, the drunk driver was traveling 65mph. If the golf cart was doing the maximum allowed speed of 25mph, that’s still a 40mph difference. The force of the impact was enough to roll that golf cart nearly 100 feet. According to news reports, the bodies of the passengers were lying all over the crash site. Being thrown from the vehicle can causes massive internal bleeding and organ damage, permanent nerve damage, crushed and broken bones, spinal and spinal cord trauma, and traumatic brain injury.

Why Hickey Law Firm can help you after a drunk driving crash in Miami

Because drunk driving accidents so often lead to serious injuries and death, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney. For more than 40 years, John H. (Jack) Hickey has practiced law in Florida. For the first 17 years of his career, he defended corporations and insurance companies. For the last 25 years, he’s only represented personal injury victims. His unique background and dual certification as a Specialist in Civil Trials and Maritime & Admiralty Law benefit all of his clients; maritime claims are some of the most challenging claims there are, and he applies the same level of dedication and determination to every injury case he takes, no matter where or how it happened. Our results speak for themselves:  More than $200 Million recovered for injured clients. er benefit of working with Hickey Law Firm is that you always work with a team. Hickey, along with another lawyer and at least two paralegals/staff members, handles every case. Not only do you have the benefit of knowing that there is always someone to help you, but you also know that your case is in the forefront of our minds. We are selective in the cases we take because this personal attention – to our clients, their needs, and their cases – is critical to success. We know who you are and we fight for what you need and deserve.

If you were injured by a drunk driver in Miami or anywhere in Florida, Hickey Law Firm has your back. You don’t have to face the future alone. You don’t have to deal with insurance companies. You don’t have to accept an unfair or unjust settlement, either, because we are fierce litigators and we will take your case to trial if that’s what’s best for you. Call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Miami car accident lawyer today. Let us do the hard work so you can focus on your recovery.