Pending Legalization of Alcohol Sales Means More Drunk Driving Accidents
A new law authorizing counties to legalize Sunday alcohol sales in stores passed its first major hurdle this week. The Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee approved the legislation, which would allow local voters to vote on legalizing Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor at stores. There has been a lot of public support for this idea in the past so local communities may soon get to decide whether to make the sale of alcoholic beverages available on Sunday.
While this proposal has a fair amount of public support, it will also have the unintended consequence of increasing the number of drivers under the influence of alcohol and drunk driving accidents. Although the total number of traffic fatalities has increased over the years, the percentage of fatal drunk driving accidents in Georgia has slowly declined. While this decline is good news, alcohol-related fatalities still constitute 28% of all fatal Georgia car accidents. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or family members who suffer wrongful death throughout Georgia for over 35 years.
Laws aimed at stricter enforcement and stiffer penalties for drunk drivers have helped reduce the number of drunk driving accident victims substantially. This new proposed law would reverse or slow this trend to some degree. Georgia, like other states, has two basic types of drunk driving laws designed to reduce the number of drivers under the influence of alcohol. The first type of Georgia drunk driving law prohibits a person from driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI). These laws make it illegal to drive if your driving ability is impaired regardless of your actual blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The second type of law makes it illegal "per se" to operate a motor vehicle at or above a specified BAC. The drunk driving "per se" law was enacted to supplement the existing DWI/DUI laws. The "per se" law for drunk driving in Georgia specifies .08 percent BAC as the level at which a driver is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Generally, these "per se" laws were enacted to make it easier to enforce drunk driving laws and punish drunk drivers.
Because teenage drunk driving accidents are a particular problem, Georgia law goes even further in limiting alcohol consumption by teenage drivers. Georgia drunk driving laws provide that a teen driver whose alcohol level is .02 percent or higher is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Because most teenagers may be over this limit after a single beer or single drink containing hard alcohol, this law is basically a zero tolerance policy for teen drivers in Georgia.
There is a wealth of evidence indicating that drunk driving rates and alcohol-related fatalities decline with stricter punishments and more aggressive enforcement of drunk driving laws. While these laws may not have as much impact on habitual offenders, they tend to reduce drunk driving accidents involving casual or social drinkers. The lawyers at Montlick & Associates have seen the carnage that drunk driving accidents cause in human life, permanent debilitating injuries and public health care costs. This toll may be an increased cost of the convenience of alcohol sales on Sundays.
Our experienced Georgia drunk driving accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.