A Fort Worth Car Accident Attorney Examines the Problem
If you are injured or a loved one dies in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you deserve justice and financial compensation for your losses. It’s likely, though, that you have a lot of questions and do not know where to turn for help.
Sadly, a recent study reveals drunk driving crashes are a far too common problem in Texas, which suffered a nation-leading 1,280 Thanksgiving and Christmas fatalities over a 10-year period.
The study covered the period of 2010 to 2019, the most recent time for which National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration statistics were available. The only other states with more than 1,000 fatalities were California (1,273) and Florida (1,171).
Nationally, drivers under the influence of alcohol and speeding drivers caused almost one-third of all holiday crashes. The number was even worse in Texas – 41% – which trailed only Connecticut (43%).
Even during the pandemic with far fewer vehicles on the road, Texas experienced a 6.3% increase in fatal crashes related to drunk driving. The numbers in the last pre-COVID year (2019) were bleak, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. For the year, the state recorded:
- 813 fatal crashes.
- 914 fatalities.
- 1,600 suspected serious crashes.
- 4,166 possible injuries.
- 24,714 related crashes.
Drunk Driving Penalties in Texas
What makes absolutely no sense is that some Texans do not seem to care about either the potentially fatal consequences or the strict penalties for driving while intoxicated. In the case of a fatality, a second-degree felony, the convicted driver faces a prison term of 2 to 20 years, a fine as high as $10,000, community service, and suspension of their driver's license.
The penalties for regular drunk driving convictions include:
- First offense: Possible $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, loss of license for a year.
- Second offense: Possible $4,000 fine, a jail sentence of one month to one year, loss of license for up to 2 years.
- Third offense: Possible $10,000 fine, a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years, loss of license for up to 2 years.
- Other financial penalties: From $3,000 to $6,000.
- Child endangerment charges: If a child under the age of 15 is in the vehicle, penalties can be fines totaling $10,000, a 2-year jail sentence, and loss of license for an additional 180 days.
Legal Help is Available in Fort Worth
When you've been hit by a drunk driver, your injuries can take a physical, emotional, and financial toll on you that can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. To make matters worse, insurance companies are financially motivated to pay crash victims as little money as possible. That means even if the cause of your crash seems obvious, an insurance adjuster might try to pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. In some cases, they may even try to blame the crash on you.
At Coby L. Wooten P.C., we've been fighting for crash victims and their families in the Greater Fort Worth Area for decades. We reject insurance company attempts to pay you less than what you deserve, and we know how to advocate for maximum compensation by building strong cases based on hard facts.
To find out what an experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyer can do for you, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.