Are Sunday Alcohol Sales a Step in the Wrong Direction?
Georgia has been one of only three states in the whole country to have a ban on alcohol sales at stores on Sundays. Last month that changed when the House approved Senate Bill 10. The legislation would allow for local cities to put the issue out to vote in their elections. By next year, Sunday sales of alcohol could be a reality in metro Atlanta and other locales.
Most of the support for the bill came from stores, the liquor industry, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. The bill had been opposed and stalled in legislation by Republican leaders for the past four years. Many conservatives opposed the bill stating that it would lead to an increase in alcohol-related traffic deaths. Some felt that even if certain counties and cities did not approve Sunday alcohol sales that they would still be affected by surrounding ones that did.
DUI in Georgia
Driving under the influence of alcohol is already a serious problem in Georgia according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From 1994-2008, 406.5 alcohol-related fatalities occurred per year, and this represented on average 25.8% of all roadway fatalities each year.
In Georgia, a person is considered impaired by alcohol when they have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher. If a driver is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC at this level or higher, then they will be charged with two statutory offenses. They will be charged with DUI or driving under the influence and the " per se" offense, which is driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. First and second offenses are misdemeanors while 3rd and subsequent offenses are high and aggravated misdemeanors.
Fatalities and Alcohol
Many innocent lives are claimed by alcohol-related accidents in Georgia counties on a weekly basis. Just this past Monday evening, a recent college graduate named Liam Rattray was killed after being struck on his motorcycle by a drunk driver. The young man had just graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia Tech and had become an American citizen only three months prior. He was riding his motorcycle in urban Atlanta when he was struck from behind by Darrin Murphy, a 42 year old that was driving while intoxicated. The man is being charged with first degree homicide, following too closely, and DUI.
This month a 57 year old Georgia judge also was charged with speeding, open container, and driving under the influence. In yet another case, a 33-year-old pilot was arrested just last week when he was involved in a two-vehicle collision at an intersection of Georgia's roadways. The 58-year-old woman in the other car died at the scene. The pilot is being charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, and failure to obey a traffic control signal.
Alcohol-related accidents know no age limits, and teenagers are victims a lot of the time. Back in February in Douglas County, a group of teenagers driving in an SUV were involved in an accident when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The driver had been drinking, and one boy was thrown from the SUV and killed while two others were injured in the crash. The boy is being charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
The devastation that drinking and driving can bring about in people's lives is enormous. While some may think it is harmless, the decision to permit alcohol sales for one more day on the weekend may increase the number of drunk drivers. Any increase in drunk driving is not a good thing because it often results in the loss of innocent lives.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed by a drunk driver, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve, as we have been doing for those throughout Georgia for over 36 years. Our Georgia drunk driving accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.