Chances are, you haven’t. When you think about the time of day people are most likely to drink and drive, it’s no surprise more accidents occur at night than during the daytime. What is surprising is just how much more: Of all the drivers involved in fatal car accidents in 2012, the rate of alcohol impairment was nearly four times higher at night than during the day.
That statistic is from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), which reports that in 2012, 10,322 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes – 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the United States.
A recent DUI checkpoint conducted by several Charlotte-area police departments and county ABC officers netted 104 charges in a four-hour period that began at 11 p.m. on a Saturday and ended at 3 a.m. Sunday. About 20 percent of those charges were alcohol-related.
As long as bars have parking lots there will be alcohol-impaired drivers behind the wheel, putting you and your loved ones at risk. Our Charlotte auto accident lawyers represent those injured by alcohol-impaired drivers.
Love ’em or hate ’em, sobriety or DUI checkpoints are legal in the Carolinas and 36 other states. If you’ve never encountered one, here’s a list of FAQs that might help:
Q.: What is a checkpoint?
A: A sobriety checkpoint is a location – usually along a high-traffic area -where police officers evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. They are usually set up late at night on weekends when the number of people driving impaired tends to be highest. You often see them near the exit points of big sporting or music events, to catch drunk drivers before they get onto the highway. They’re also common on major “drinking” holidays – New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, for example. Checkpoints are usually publicized in advance and there are typically signs posted to warn drivers that they are approaching a sobriety checkpoint.
Q.: How does it work?
A. Vehicles are pulled over in a predetermined sequence – such as every other vehicle, or every third or fourth vehicle. This is done to diminish incidences
of racial profiling. If a police officer has reason to believe a driver has been drinking, he can request a breath test.
According to NHTSA, drivers are considered alcohol-impaired when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. In 2012, all 50 states and the District of Columbia made it illegal per se (in itself) to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Our auto accident attorneys in Charlotte are experienced in alcohol-impaired driving statutes and stand ready to help you if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Despite checkpoints and even designated-driver campaigns, nighttime driving still requires caution and attentiveness.
Call us if you need assistance.
Contact Lee Law Offices, P.A., 1-800-887-1965, or 704-332-1577.