Delaware highways can be dangerous, especially if a negligent or reckless driver is nearby. Whether driving your own vehicle, riding as a passenger or traveling as a pedestrian, if a nearby motorist is dealing with intoxication or distraction, for instance, he or she is placing you and all others in the vicinity at risk. Drunk drivers are a menace to the road, which is why it is helpful to know how to recognize signs of intoxication.
You’ve no doubt heard it said that some people “hold their liquor” better than others. What this means is that some people show signs of intoxication sooner or more pronounced than other people might who have consumed the same amount of alcohol. State law defines intoxication as .08 or higher percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), although, in Delaware, a police officer may arrest someone with .05 percent BAC if he or she shows other impairment evidence.
Things to know about drunk drivers
Intoxicated people often have reduced muscle coordination or reaction times. In a driver, you might witness this as random application of the gas or brake pedals, or failing to go when a traffic light turns from red to green. Mental confusion is another common side effect of intoxication, which may account for numerous fatal collisions where a drunk driver had been headed the wrong way in traffic and hit another vehicle head-on.
Drunk drivers often have slurred speech, which a police officer might notice if he or she makes a traffic stop and speaks to the driver in question. However, unless the officer has personally spoken to a driver under other normal circumstances, he or she may have no way to know if the driver is slurring.
Drunk driving is a criminal offense
Every licensed driver in Delaware and beyond has an obligation to adhere to state DUI laws. If a drunk driver hits you and causes injury, you might endure a lot of physical pain and emotional suffering, as well as financial distress due to medical expenses and other costs associated with the incident.
The person driving the car that hit you might wind up facing criminal charges because illegal operation of a motor vehicle under influence of alcohol is not a traffic violation — it is a criminal offense. In the past, many recovering victims of drunk driving collisions have used the fact that those deemed responsible faced criminal charges to help them substantiate personal injury claims in civil court.