The Effects of Impaired Driving

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People consume alcohol for many different reasons. Some may do it socially to celebrate; others may do it to find escape from the world. Whatever the reason, indulging excessively is against the law and detrimental to yourself as well as others. 

It is everyone's responsibility to drive safely, but many of us take that responsibility for granted. Impaired driving, whether from alcohol or drugs, can be catastrophic for those partaking in this abuse, as well as for innocent victims.

People are often asked to practice self-control and restraint during the holiday season and any big social or sporting event, but as we know, excessive drinking is not limited only to these times. Impaired driving can cause reduced visibility and response time, distracted and tired driving, excessive speeding, and can hinder your peripheral line of sight.

While research has shown a decrease in road fatalities from 1987 and 2008, the last couple of years during that period showed a slight fluctuation, with an increase in fatally injured drivers from perpetrators who had simply "been drinking", to others who had a blood alcohol content of or over 80mg per 100mg units of blood, also known as "Over 80", a very serious offence than can carry a penalty of a fine or life imprisonment, depending on the case.

Case example

A recently heard impaired driving case was that of Madhai vs Cox.

On March 6th 2006, Ms. D. Cox was driving a vehicle on the expressway when she hit another vehicle driving in the same direction in another lane. She had two passengers accompanying her; Ms. R. Madhai and Mr. D Latchana, her boyfriend at the time.

As a direct result of the accident Ms. Madhai was killed.

The driver of the other vehicle Mr. A Ahmed and the owner of the vehicle Mr. S Ahmed, were named in a suit as well as Ms. Cox by the family of the deceased victim. The defendants, The Ahmeds, filed a motion for summary judgment with the intent to have the suit against them dismissed.

Based on evidence obtained from a reliable non-biased witness who was driving on the expressway at the time, the investigating officer's notes and accident reconstruction report and Ms. Cox's admission and acceptance of guilt to the charge of careless driving, the trial judge ruled in the favour of the Ahmed defendants, dismissing the action against them.

Ms. Cox was found to be at fault, driving erratically and under the influence of alcohol.

In addition, the Ahmed's council sought compensation for the entire motion and action, which amounted to almost seventeen thousand dollars. Employing the guidelines under Section 131 in the Courts of Justice Act, the presiding judge agreed and ruled that the plaintiffs should pay the defendants the amount.

As mentioned above, this accident occurred in 2006, testimony to the fact that the process to perceived justice can be long, costly and arduous one.

Here in this specific case, the plaintiff sought legal action against the person who carelessly initially caused the accident as well as the other vehicle who was unintentionally and innocently involved. The intention here was probably not malicious or a blind attempt at retribution.

The plaintiffs questioned whether the Ahmeds could have somehow minimized the accident and what role and amount of responsibility they had contributed to the accident. The judge made a ruling based on evidence which all pointed to the defendants actually being victims of the incident. It is said that alcohol related accidents are the leading cause of criminal death in Canada.

Legislation exists to reduce impaired driving, including random breath testing (whether it is perceived that the individual has been drinking or not), and suspension of licences with more stringent punishment for repeat offenders.

If you or someone you know has been hurt or injured in any capacity due to the negligence of others, call a personal injury lawyer at Gluckstein Lawyers for a free initial consultation.


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