Utah change in legal BAC limit to 0.05 may save lives

This blog post addresses a change in DUI law designed to prevent wrongful deaths and serious injuries in automobile accidents involving alcohol impaired drivers. Earlier this week a new law went into effect in Utah lowering the legal BAC to 0.05. Other states will surely be watching to see what effect this change has in saving lives in DUI related traffic accidents.

The USA Today (link to story here) published an interesting piece regarding some of the statistics regarding DUI accidents and fatalities pertaining to the lower 0.05 BAC limit. The story cites and links to a study (link to study on National Institutes of Health website here) by James Fell and Robert Voas which “concluded that a .05 BAC limit would prevent 11 percent of fatal crashes involving alcohol and save nearly 1,800 lives each year.”

The USA Today story further cites NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) statistics which show that when a person has a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 that person is seven times more likely to be in a fatal accident than a person with no alcohol in his blood.

They also cite statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) which show a person can start exhibiting impairment from alcohol with a BAC as low as 0.02 and that driving skills worsen considerably when a person’s BAC reaches 0.05.

Of particular note in the story, though 67% of fatality DUI accidents involve drivers with BACs of 0.15 and above, in 2016 there were 2,017 alcohol related fatalities nationwide involving drivers with BACs of under 0.08 (the legal limit currently in Georgia).

It will be interesting to see what effect this change has on traffic fatalities in Utah in 2019. If it has any significant impact on saving lives I would predict other states will soon follow by changing their laws. The USA Today story notes that most developed countries already have stricter DUI limits such as Utah’s new 0.05 legal limit.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia traffic accident with a DUI driver, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Georgia Traffic Fatalities for New Year's Travel Period

The Georgia Department of Public Safety has issued the final statistics regarding automobile accidents and fatality wrecks for the New Year’s travel period which began at 6:00 PM, Friday, December 28, 2018, and ended at 11:59 PM, Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

In total 18 people lost their lives in traffic crashes in Georgia during this recent holiday travel period.

These fatal crashes were investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, Dougherty County Police, Loganville Police, Atlanta Police, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Chatham County Police, Gwinnett County Police, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, and DeKalb County Police.

The Georgia State Patrol alone investigated 550 traffic wrecks that resulted in 223 injuries and seven fatalities. They also made 368 DUI arrests and issued 6,971 citations during the New Year’s travel period.

Here is hoping you and your loved ones had a safe New Year’s celebration and will have a happy and prosperous 2019!

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia traffic accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Georgia Traffic Accident and Fatality Statistics for Christmas 2018

The official statistics for Georgia traffic fatalities for the 2018 Christmas travel period are in and tragically 26 people lost their lives. According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, there were 700 traffic crashes resulting in 333 injured persons handled just by the Georgia State Patrol (not accounting for local agencies). The Georgia State Patrol alone also made 285 DUI arrests.

Of the fatal accidents in Georgia for the 2018 Christmas travel period, the incidents occurred in the jurisdiction of the following agencies: Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, DeKalb County Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, Savannah Police Department, Lawrenceville Police Department, Dade County Sheriff’s Office, and Floyd County Police Department.

These statistics are based on a 126 hour travel period from 6:00 PM, Friday, December 21, 2018 to 11:59 PM, Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia traffic accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Final Georgia Traffic Fatality Count for Thanksgiving Travel Period

The last thing anyone wants to think about around the holidays is the need for a personal injury and wrongful death attorney or the statistics of Georgia traffic wrecks and fatalities. Unfortunately, with the high volume of motorists traveling and the fact that some people choose to drink and drive, car accidents, deaths on our roadways, and DUIs are more prevalent around major holidays.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety has released the final statistics for the 2018 Thanksgiving travel period. Statewide 15 people lost their lives in traffic crashes during the 102 hour period. Ten of these deaths were investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, while local agencies in Gwinnett County (1 fatality), DeKalb County (3 fatalities), and Cobb County (1 fatality) also investigated roadway fatalities.

The report also indicates there were 242 people injured in car or truck wrecks investigated by just the Georgia State Patrol over the travel period. The Georgia State Patrol alone also made 339 DUI arrests during the time frame.

As we head into the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, please take extra precaution on the roads and report suspected drunk drivers.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as a result of an unsafe driver, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Charter Bus from Gwinnett Headed to Masters Wrecks, Overturns

Driver alleged to have been DUI

According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, a charter bus from Gwinnett County crashed and overturned today on its way to the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. The story reports that there were 18 passengers on board and several were taken to the hospital. Fortunately, it appears the injuries were not life threatening. The driver of the bus was alleged to have been a DUI driver at the time of the incident. As a Gwinnett County personal injury and wrongful death attorney who handles cases throughout the State of Georgia, this sad incident brings up several legal issues regarding the rights of the injured.

Federal Law Requires Minimum Insurance for a Bus with this Number of Passengers

Knowing that the bus was one which carried 16 or more passengers, under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subtitle B, Chapter III, Subchapter B, Subpart C, § 387.303 the owner/operator was required to maintain a minimum of $5,000,000 in insurance liability coverage. Hopefully, none of the non-life threatening injuries were catastrophic.

If even one person received a catastrophic injury such as paralysis, if the company had bare minimum coverage that one claim could take up all the liability coverage available. For this reason, it is very important for anyone injured in such an accident to seek an attorney immediately to assert his or her claim before policy limits are potentially exhausted.

Additionally, evidence can be collected and preserved the sooner an attorney gets to work on the case. Motor carriers and their insurance companies get to work immediately to reduce their exposure. Spoliation letters to preserve evidence and the right to inspect evidence are important tools for a plaintiff's lawyer.

Punitive Damages at Issue with DUI Allegation under Georgia Law

Another part of this case is that the driver of the bus was charged with DUI. As this blog post is based on the news report linked in the first sentence of the post I must stress that the DUI charge is an allegation only and everyone charged with a crime s presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, should a personal injury lawyer have facts to prove this allegation, punitive damages will be at issue in the case. 

Under Georgia law, when a defendant was negligent while "under the influence of alcohol, drugs other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to that degree that his or her judgment is substantially impaired," punitive damages with no cap or limit can be sought. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f). In other words, if a DUI is proven the plaintiffs are not limited to $250,000 in punitive damages as is the case with many other tort cases in Georgia. 

Let's all hope these passengers recover to good health. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus wreck, DUI wreck, truck wreck, or any other type of auto accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics Released This Week

This blog post by personal injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, a Gwinnett County law practice based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, addresses statistics released this week on pedestrian fatality accidents.

The Governors Highway Safety Association released its 2017 preliminary data on pedestrian traffic fatalities earlier this week. The report has some disturbing trends. Overall, nationwide pedestrian fatality numbers were virtually unchanged from 2016 with approximately 6,000 deaths in 2017. While other types of traffic fatalities have declined in the last decade, pedestrian fatalities have increased 27%.

Additionally, in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use pedestrian fatalities increased 16.4% in the first six months of 2017, while in states where marijuana is not legal for recreational use pedestrian fatalities declined 5.8%. While the marijuana statistics speak to correlation without proving causation, the general trend of an increase of pedestrian fatalities over the last decade is cause for concern and the marijuana statistics make one want to see longer term statistics to see if there is any significance to them. 

Georgia had the sixth most pedestrian fatalities in the nation during the first six months of 2017, but our state's total was down 20% from 2016. 

When looking through all of the statistics certain things stand out from a safety standpoint. The most pedestrian fatalities occur when it is dark outside and the highest percentage occur on local municipal streets (urban areas as opposed to highways, county roads, etc.). Additionally, smartphone use has continuously increased over the last decade.

These statistics leave open a lot of questions. Could the trend towards more urban, walkable communities be a contributing factor (are there more pedestrians now than a decade ago)? Could marijuana legalization pose a danger to pedestrians (it is against the law in Georgia not just to drive under the influence of alcohol, but to drive while under the influence of marijuana, See O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(2))? Is smartphone use a/k/a distracted driving a/k/a texting while driving a main contributing factor to the increased danger to pedestrians?

Please keep in mind the danger to pedestrians which seems to be increasing. Use safety precautions when walking near roadways, especially at nighttime. 

If your or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Saving Georgia Lives: NIH recommends lowering legal BAC limit

New BAC recommendation may save lives and prevent serious injuries and wrongful deaths in Georgia

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is recommending lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration from .08 to .05. Should this recommendation be followed in Georgia I would hope that it would result in saving innocent lives from drunk drivers on Georgia roads. We need less wrongful death and serious injury lawsuits in Georgia and such a measure may help.

A link to the Newsweek version of the story can be accessed here. The story notes that according to the NIH, when the legal drinking age was increased from 18 to 21 in 1980 there was a significant decrease in alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. However, the reductions have plateaued in recent years and the belief is that the reduction of the legal BAC limit will further prevent DUI accidents and deaths. They also recommend other measures such as increasing alcohol taxes, decreasing the hours alcohol can be sold, and preventing the sale of alcohol to people who are already visible intoxicated (a potential Georgia dram shop claim). 

What really stands out in the Newsweek story is the staggering figures at the end:  according to the CDC, "alcohol-impaired driving kills someone every 51 minutes and alcohol-related car crashes cost more than $44 billion a year." Less than every hour someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. 

Let's hope something can be done to prevent more deaths and serious injuries at the hands of drunk drivers in Georgia. It will be up to the Georgia General Assembly to pass such a measure into law if it ever happens.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in a Georgia car wreck, please contact Gwinnett County based injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Stay Safe on Georgia Roads on New Year's Day

Georgia State Troopers are stepping up enforcement of DUI laws over the holidays and that is for good reason. 

Major holidays are cause for celebration, but too often persons consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. Depending on the source of the statistics different holidays are ranked the most dangerous days of the year to be on the roads, but regardless of the source certain major holidays consistently rank near the top. With New Year's Eve right around the corner, please keep in mind the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

It is safest to stay home on New Year's Eve, but if you go out to celebrate at a party do not drink and drive. Even if you remain sober or have a designated driver, it is not a bad idea to avoid driving and stay at a hotel or friend's home to avoid traveling after midnight. According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in the years 2010-2014 New Year's Day was the second deadliest day of the year on United States roads behind only Independence Day. On average there were 118.2 deaths on New Year's Day in that time span, just behind the 118.4 average of Independence Day. That is nearly 28 deaths more than the average day. Further, on a typical day 35% of fatality accidents involve at least one driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration over Georgia's legal limit of 0.08 g/dL, while on New Year's Day that percentage spikes to 62%.

Please keep in mind the dangers of driving after the clock strikes midnight and we ring in the new year. Have a safe and prosperous 2018.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in a traffic accident, please contact injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Be safe and thankful this Thanksgiving

The Armond Firm wishes all readers a Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe over the holiday. Lots of extra vehicles will be on Georgia's roadways so take extra precautions while driving.

The Macon Telegraph reports that last year there were 20 fatalities on Georgia roadways over the five day Thanksgiving holiday. Please be alert for distracted drivers and persons driving under the influence and stay safe. Let this be a Thanksgiving that is much safer than last year for Georgia motorists.

If you or a loved one would like to speak with a Georgia personal injury lawyer please contact Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

Click here for a link to the Macon Telegraph story.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Thanksgiving the deadliest day of the year on the roads

November is here and the holidays are right around the corner. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family and give thanks for all of our blessings. It is also a holiday where lots of people are on the roads traveling. Unfortunately, it is the deadliest day of the year on our roadways. 

A story in Forbes (click here) shows the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) statistics where Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on the roads. Thanksgiving, in particular is deadly because of the combination of about 50% more drivers on the roads along with higher than usual alcohol consumption.

Please stay safe this holiday season. Keep in mind the dangers of traveling by car and drive defensively on Thanksgiving. If you see a suspected DUI driver contact 911 immediately.

If you would like to speak with an attorney about an automobile accident injury or fatality please contact Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.