Drunk Driving Reality: Thousands of Impaired Motorists on Chicago Streets Annually

If you drive in Chicago, you may or may not be aware of the constant threat of drunk drivers on the roadways. On any street at any time, an impaired driver may be just around the corner, lurking to cause harm if you are unlucky enough to cross their paths.

The sad fact is that drunk drivers are not just found in the hour immediately after bars close downtown. They are not confined to commercial areas and do not announce their presence as they roll down a street. Instead, these reckless drivers ignore the safety of the public by driving drunk, substantially increasing the odds that they will cause a car accident or other crash.

In the State of Illinois, drivers will be presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .08 or higher. However, drivers can be guilty of driving under the influence with even less alcohol in their system if they are affected by liquor. Any amount of alcohol that leads to impairment in the state can trigger criminal charges against the driver, even if that driver has a BAC that is under the legal limit.

Special types of drivers, including those operating a school bus or those with certain professional licenses, cannot have any alcohol in their systems and drive legally. Motorists under the age of 21 are similarly prohibited from having any alcohol in their bodies if they choose to drive, and driving with even a minimal amount of intoxicant can lead to a variety of charges and the loss of a driver’s license.

Holidays, including the 4th of July, are some of the most common times of the year for motorists to drive drunk. People find themselves celebrating with friends and family while imbibing alcohol in quantities greater than normal. Couple that with the fact that many people will drive to a gathering, a major area hosting fireworks, or a family member’s home and it is easy to see how the holidays can lead to the increased presence of drunk drivers on Chicago’s roadways.

While the drivers who choose to operate drunk understand the risks they may face, the victims of any alcohol-related collisions are often less informed about their options. After all, a victim who is hit by a drunk driver did nothing wrong and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time – surely she should not be forced to suffer for the actions of another.

If you are injured in a collision with an impaired driver, you have the right to seek financial relief through a civil claim for damages. However, unlike criminal charges, you must affirmatively act to bring your claim or your right to do so may be lost. It can be difficult to navigate the numerous complicated laws related to these claims so many victims choose the assistance of a personal injury attorney to help them with their cases.

Typically, victims can recover for a wide range of damages from medical expenses to lost wages to pain and suffering. The specific relief possible depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding a drunk driving collision will determine what options are available if you were involved in an accident.

Prior Blog Entry:

Tesla in Self Driving Mode Involved in Fatal Car Accident, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 1, 2016.

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