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Representing Drunk Driving Accident Victims in All Five Boroughs
Each year, thousands – if not millions – of car accidents happen across the country due to the negligence of drunk drivers. If you were hit by a drunk driver in Brooklyn recently, then it can feel like you’re down on your luck and out of options, especially if you listen to the driver’s auto insurance provider. To get yourself back on track, call (718) 690-3132 and speak with a Brooklyn drunk driving accident attorney from Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices. We can assist you with all parts of your claim, including initial investigations, settlement negotiations, and courtroom litigation.
Legal Intoxication in New York
When someone operates a vehicle with too much alcohol in their system, they are “legally intoxicated,” which sounds contradictory because it is illegal to drive while legally intoxicated. Each state has different legal limits for drivers. If the driver who hit you can be charged with a crime for being legally intoxicated to some extent, then it could help prove that they are liable for your damages.
In New York, drivers are legally intoxicated at these blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels:
- 0.05 to 0.07: A driver who has a BAC level within this range and who shows signs of impairment while driving can be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI).
- 0.08: A driver with a BAC level at this level or higher can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).
- 0.18 and up: A driver who has a BAC level of this level can be charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated (ADWI).
Additionally, a driver under the age of 21 who has a BAC level at or above 0.02 can be charged with DWAI, even if they are not showing signs of impairment. This rule is part of New York’s “zero tolerance law” for underage drinking and driving, even though it can excuse underaged drinkers with a BAC level below 0.02 but above 0.00.
How Intoxication Affects a Driver
Drinking and driving do not mix. There is no safe way to have “just one drink” and then drive shortly afterward. Alcohol impairs the body in a variety of ways and within minutes of consuming it. The more alcohol that is consumed, the worse the driver will become intoxicated and impaired.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol affects drivers by:
- Impairing judgment: While intoxicated, a driver’s ability to react to new situations and emergencies is dulled. Judging distance and speed becomes extremely difficult, sharply increasing the risk of getting into an accident, even when approaching stopped traffic.
- Impacting vision: Intoxication impacts the eyes’ ability to focus and follow moving objects. Some people will even lose color distinction while drunk, which means that noticing the differences between green, yellow, and red lights becomes a challenge.
- Slowing reaction time: Thinking processes slow down while the brain is under the effects of alcohol. When presented with a crisis, a drunk driver will take far longer to react than a sober driver.
- Worsening motor control: Moderate to heavy intoxication can make an individual feel like their body is “loose” or “floating.” This strange feeling makes motor control – the control of one’s own muscles and joints – difficult, so swerving while driving becomes more likely.
Importantly, the NHTSA notes that the noticeable effects of alcohol on the mind and body can begin at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level as low as 0.02. Most people will have this BAC level after just one drink. If the driver who hit you said they “only had one drink” before the accident, then please make a note of it or try to record it. That statement alone could help us completely undermine their defense and put all liability on them for your serious injuries.
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