On November 15, a suspected drunk driver crashed into a parked truck, leaving one woman dead and two other people injured. The accident occurred on Interstate 10 near Vado, NM. The victims were waiting for a tow truck to arrive, and the allegedly intoxicated driver was heading east on the highway when he, “for unknown reasons,” veered off the road and hit the truck. Police say he admitted to drinking some beers before the crash and performed poorly on sobriety tests. Records also show this is his second aggravated DWI and open container arrest in New Mexico.
Revisiting the Effects of Alcohol on Driving
While the article cited above says the suspected drunk driver left the road “for unknown reasons,” it’s well-established that alcohol impairs one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. There are potentially several reasons the driver left the road, all related to the effects of alcohol and impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a review of 109 research studies and highlighted the effects of even low doses of alcohol on driving-related skills.
For one, dividing attention between tasks is very sensitive to alcohol consumption, which means if something unexpectedly occurs in the driving environment that also requires attention, it will be more difficult to adequately shift attention to avoid an accident. Alcohol also makes drivers less vigilant and less able to recognize potential traffic hazards.
Tracking refers to a driver’s ability to control and maintain position on the road relative to the driving environment. Many studies have shown tracking errors can be contributors to run-off-the-road car accidents and head-on crashes. And the NHTSA’s review found tracking impairment at BACs as low as 0.0018 and consistently at 0.005 BAC. Thus, tracking impairment, along with problems dividing attention, vigilance, and recognizing traffic hazards, likely all caused the fatal accident described above, making our “unknown reasons” known.
Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney after a Drunk Driving Accident
A wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased woman and personal injury claims from the injury victims may arise out of this accident, as drunk driving accidents may be litigated in civil court as well as criminal court. While it may feel good to know a drunk driver is behind bars, the state isn’t looking to obtain compensation for accident victims. But Las Cruces personal injury attorneys are. In southern New Mexico, contact the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane P.A. if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident. We can get you money for your injuries to help pay for you medical bills and make up for lost income, pain and suffering, and more. You deserve it, and we’ll fight for it.