Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Five Kinds of Driving Impairment in Bellevue

Posted Friday, August 12, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Most vehicle collisions are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They do not accidentally get behind the wheel when they are too sleepy to drive. The number of fatal car crashes has increased significantly since 2020. During coronavirus lockdowns, when roads emptied and traffic enforcement all but disappeared, many drivers picked up bad habits. These bad habits include impaired driving, as outlined below.

Crash victims need money to pay crash-related bills and otherwise put their lives back together. They should not have to pay this money from their own pockets. So, a Bellevue personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for these injuries in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available, as well, in some extreme cases.

*Alcohol* We mentioned driver habits above. A long-term “drunk driver” crackdown has meant more arrests, but it has not changed driver habits. Alcohol still causes about the same proportion of fatal accidents today as it did in the 1980s before the crackdown began.

If tortfeasors (negligent drivers) violate a penal safety law, like the DUI law, and that violation causes injury, the tortfeasor is liable for the aforementioned damages as a matter of law.

Frequently, drivers are not intoxicated (complete loss of mental or physical faculties), but they are impaired (partial loss of mental or physical faculties). The duty of care, which applies to most noncommercial motorists, requires them to be at their absolute best, physically, mentally, and otherwise, when they drive. Evidence of impairment, which begins with the first drink, includes:

The burden of proof in a civil case is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If Mary ate at a restaurant that served alcohol, it’s more likely than not that she consumed alcohol there. So, a Bellevue personal injury lawyer can use this evidence to prove alcohol impairment.

*Fatigue* Many people do not know that drowsiness and alcohol affect the body and brain in about the same way. Driving after 18 consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for many Washington drivers.

Drowsiness and alcohol impairment/intoxication have something else in common. There is no shortcut to recovery for these individuals. Only time cures alcohol impairment and only sleep cures fatigue.

Fatigue is especially a problem among truck drivers. These individuals are under intense pressure to stay behind the wheel as long as possible. Unfortunately, regulators are willing to look the other way in these situations.

*Drugs* Marijuana is, by far, the leading cause of drugged driving. It may be legal to possess and use marijuana, but it is illegal and dangerous to drive under its influence. Usually, drug impairment, like alcohol impairment, begins with the first puff or pill.

Other people use drugs to counteract the effects of fatigue. Almost half of all truckers admit they use amphetamines while they are behind the wheel. These drugs are not just impairing. When the drug wears off, users crash hard and fast.

*Distraction* Hand-held cell phones get many of the headlines in this area, mostly because these gadgets combine all three types of distraction, which are:

Hands-free devices may be more dangerous than hand-held devices. Hands-free gadgets are visually and cognitively distracting. Additionally, these devices give many drivers a false sense of security.

Non-device distraction is even more common than device distraction. Examples include drinking while driving and eating while driving.

*Medical Condition* Many chronic and serious medical conditions, like heart disease and epilepsy, could cause motorists to suddenly lose consciousness as they drive. The result is a dangerous out-of-control collision.

Short-term and mild medical conditions, like the flu, are a constant hazard as well. Symptoms of these illnesses, like watery eyes and trouble breathing, reduce driving ability by as much as 50%.

*Contact a Dedicated King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Bellevue, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.