Drivers in Vancouver have no reason not to be aware of the dangers involved with drinking and driving. Unfortunately, even knowing they face severe penalties and that driving under the influence puts them and others at risk for serious and potentially life threatening personal injuries is often not enough to dissuade some people. When fatal DUI-related car accidents eventually do occur, court penalties often fail to provide a sense of justice for surviving family members. In these situations, filing a wrongful death claim can provide some relief.
Fatal DUI Accidents In Vancouver
According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington State has one of the highest rates of drunk driving in the U.S., well over the average rate for other areas in the country. As a result, we also have a higher rate of drunk driving accidents, as well, which have claimed more than 2,000 lives locally over the past 15 years, while causing serious injuries for many others.
The City of Vancouver takes alcohol-related car accidents seriously, and has targeted efforts designed to prevent drivers from being on the roads under the influence. Due to a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), the Vancouver Police Department has received nearly $450,000, which it put directly towards DUI enforcement and apprehending offenders. By conducting DUI traffic stops and allocating overtime for officers, they hope to send a strong message to motorists to drive sober or face the penalties.
Repeat DUI Drivers
Unfortunately, some drivers continue to drink behind the wheel, even after facing multiple arrests, fines, and license suspensions for previous offenses. A recent case in Vancouver highlights the dangers these drivers pose to other motorists, along with pedestrians on the road.
In December 2017, the Columbian reported on a Vancouver woman who was convicted and sentenced to jail time on DUI charges after striking and killing a pedestrian. Witnesses claim she had been drinking in multiple taverns before driving home on Minnehaha Street. After fatally hitting a man walking along the road, she kept driving, later claiming it was dark and she was unable to see that she had struck someone.
The judge in the case ended up sentencing her to four years for the fatal hit-and-run. As it turns out, she has a long history of problems with alcohol and getting behind the wheel. She was previously convicted of DUI in 2004, 2006 and 2011, and as recently as 2016 was required to use an ignition interlock device.
Let Us Assist You Today
Losing a loved one to a DUI accident is a heartbreaking and needless tragedy. Unfortunately, court penalties often seem mild compared to the loss of life and suffering of surviving family members. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at fault driver can provide a sense of justice in these cases. Contact the Johnston Law Firm at (503) 546-3167 to request a consultation with a Vancouver car accident attorney to discuss your situation and how we can assist you during this difficult time.