A Guide to Drunk Driving Accidents in Utah
How Many People Die a Year From Drunk Drivers in Utah?
One of the major social ills we face in society in the USA is the number of people who carelessly and recklessly drive their vehicles under the influence of alcoholic drinks and drugs. This selfish act results in death and destruction on a massive scale.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office (UDPS), there have been 47,718 car accidents in Utah in 2022. 13,777 of these accidents have resulted in injuries, with 270 fatalities. Additionally, 690 of the accidents were alcohol-related, and 259 of them drug-related.
There were 918 alcohol-related accidents in 2021 and 188 drug-related accidents. Over the course of the year, 146 accidents and 21 deaths were linked to alcohol and drugs. Due to the law’s stricter stance on DUI offenses, misdemeanors are being punished more severely.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a drunk driving accident and suffered a severe injury, you may have a car accident claim in Utah.
A Summary of DUI State Laws in Utah
The intricacies of the law are beyond the scope of this short article. However, the Utah laws are contained in Utah’s statutes, specifically Title 41, Chapter 6a, Part 5.
The most critical aspects are summarized below:
The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Level
The law specifies that a person may not operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 grams or higher. Drivers under 21 cannot have any amount of alcohol in their system. If they do, they will be guilty of drunk driving. The question is one of proof, and the regulations provide for a breathalyzer or blood test to be taken at the scene or even hours later. Breath and blood alcohol tests measure the level of alcohol in your body.
The punishment for driving while intoxicated can include fines, probation, community service, classes, home confinement, electronic monitoring, or even jail time.
Where a drunk driver has two or more prior convictions for drunk driving in the past ten years, they could be convicted of a third-degree felony.
Probable Cause for Arrest
The law allows a police officer to carry out a DUI arrest on a person suspected of having consumed alcohol and driving drunk if he has reason to believe that the driver is DUI.
In addition, an officer may pull a driver over if they see any signs of erratic, such as speeding or even driving too slowly, swerving, or failing to obey road signs. Often drunk drivers forget to switch on their headlights. Police officers report that if a driver is speeding or driving aggressively, there is an increased likelihood of impaired driving.
The driver is still breaking the law when he has a blood alcohol content of fewer than 0.05 grams and other illegal drugs in their system impairing their driving ability. Interestingly, the Utah Highway Patrol has specialized troopers called the DUI squad (UHP’s DUI squad), tasked with spotting impaired drivers on Utah’s roads. There has been a high percentage of the use of both alcohol and drugs as drivers push the limits.
Utah continues to add more troopers to its DUI squad in an effort aimed at stopping impaired drivers. There has also been an increase in wrong-way drivers leading to the establishment of a wrong-way task force. Impaired driving accidents often involve a single vehicle injuring a person and damaging property.
How Frequent are Alcohol-Impaired Drivers Guilty of Speeding in Utah?
In 2021, the UDPS data reveals that out of the 97 drunk drivers who caused accidents, 14 were guilty of speeding at the time.
What Percentage of Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Driving in Utah?
Approximately 0.2 percent of accidents are caused by drunk driving in Utah.
Do Insurance Cover DUI Accidents in Utah?
The short answer is yes. Your insurance company typically will cover DUI accidents in Utah up to the limits of your policy. If an accident was caused and someone was injured, your insurance company is liable to cover the policy it has with you. However, post-accident, you can expect your insurance rate to skyrocket, and you may even face a situation where the insurance company refuses to renew your policy.
Why You Shouldn’t Accept a Settlement Before a Drunk Driver Is Charged
Some Utah drivers face severe injuries after an accident with an intoxicated driver, medical bills pile up, wages are lost, and there is a long time for recovery. The consequences of a DUI car crash can be catastrophic.
Thus, the drunk driver or their insurance company should be held responsible for the damage and should also be required to pay for the pain and suffering of those who were injured. Car accident attorneys can help you collect evidence and establish a claim for personal injury.
It can often take several months or even years for accident victims to realize the full extent of their injuries and what is required for their full recovery. The unfortunate reality is that many people realize this only after signing a settlement agreement with the responsible party’s insurance company. In some cases, victims may need to undergo physical therapy and modify their homes in order to accommodate their disabilities.
The drunk driver’s insurance company may attempt to limit the payout you are entitled to and try to close the matter as quickly as possible. The minute you settle with the insurance company, you lose any right to seek more compensation for your injuries, no matter how severe they become over time. So for your own benefit, it is crucial that you do not accept the first offer that you get and consult with a car accident attorney before signing any terms.
Furthermore, if the drunk driver is convicted or pleads guilty to a DUI, you may be able to negotiate a higher settlement amount. Criminal proceedings have a much higher burden of proof than civil proceedings, so the outcome of a criminal proceeding may be indicative of that of the civil proceeding.
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Salt Lake City to have your claim assessed as soon as possible.
Know Your Rights – Have Your Case Assessed
A car accident claim in Utah can be challenging, especially when dealing with insurance companies. To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, our personal injury lawyer will build the strongest case possible. You can trust us to fight for fair compensation on your behalf, as we are experienced in proving negligence and fault on the part of the other driver.
Call your personal injury lawyer today for a free initial consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Still Get a Lawyer for an Accident That Was My Fault?
Yes, it would be best if you still got a lawyer. In addition to investigating the extent of your fault, an experienced truck accident lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company to resolve the claim.
What Is the Most Common Injury in a Truck Accident?
The most common injuries in a truck accident are spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, head and neck injuries, and broken bones.
A truck or even a semi-truck accident can cause fatal and life-long injuries. For your medical expenses to be adequately covered, ensure that you wait until the end of the anticipated recovery period before settling your truck accident case.