This past Saturday (01/19/13), Jocelyn Gardiner, a student and track star from Tennessee State University, was killed in Nashville by a driver who ran a red light at a busy downtown intersection. Gardiner was originally from Texas, and planned to attend law school after graduation. The driver that killed her was drunk.
Drunk driving is one of the most irresponsible actions that a person can do. Not only is their own life put at risk, but they jeopardize the lives of every other person on the road.
Unfortunately, sad stories like Gardiner’s occur frequently on U.S. roads. In 2010, a study reported that 308 traffic fatalities occurred that year in Tennessee due to alcohol impairment, along with thousands of injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property damage.
It’s not all bad news though. Since 2000, the total annual number of alcohol impaired fatalities on Tennessee roads has decreased almost 40%, and nationally the figure has dropped an average 48%.
No doubt, we are headed down the right path toward making our roads safer, but the dangers of DUI are still prevalent.
How to spot a drunk driver
Over 20,000 Tennessee drivers were arrested in 2010 alone for driving under the influence. They’re out there, and as a driver you must remain vigilant to protect your family and yourself.
Experts provide this list of tell-tale signs of a drunk driver:
- Quick acceleration and deceleration
- Weaving or zigzagging across the road
- Driving anywhere other than on a road designated for vehicles
- Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle
- Stopping without cause or erratic braking
- Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
- Signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions
- Slow response to traffic signals (e.g. sudden stop or delayed start)
- Straddling the center lane marker
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road
Consequences of DUI in Tennessee
Current Tennessee law mandates that drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol could be fined up to $1,500 or jailed up to 1 year on their first offense. The consequences increase with each offense, ultimately resulting in license revocation and extensive fines and jail time.
Some the costs of DUI convictions include:
- Court Costs
- Towing and Vehicle Storage Fees
- Attorney Fees
- Alcohol Education Program Enrollment
- Driver License Reinstatement Fees
- Ignition Interlock Program Costs
- Higher Insurance Premiums and SR-22 Form
How to help
The best way to help reduce DUI fatalities and injuries is by thinking before you drive. Be constantly aware of the drivers around you and report any unusual behavior to the local authorities.
You can also protect your family and neighbors by talking to your kids about the consequences of driving while under the influence. A 2010 DOT study found that 22% of teenage drivers involved in fatal car crashes had been drinking. Parents are the primary influence of teenage driving behavior, so be an example to your kids and discuss the dangers of DUI with them.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident with a driver under the influence of alcohol, then contact a Nashville car accident lawyer today to make sure that you receive proper compensation for injuries and damages.