Most Common BAL level in traffic fatalities is .18, twice Florida’s limit

liquor-bottles[1]-thumb-333x221-49374A new report, “Prevalence of High BAC in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatal Crashes,” published by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the most common Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) for drunk drivers in 2010 fatal crashes was .18. This is more that than twice the legal limit in all 50 states and the State of Florida. Overall, there was one alcohol-related fatality every hour.

Recently, Congress approved a $20 million program that will provide states with additional money if they require drivers convicted of drunk driving to have ignition interlock devices installed on their car.

Today, 17 states have laws mandating such devices for first-time DUI (driving under the influence) offenders who want to retain driving privileges..

At the end of the day, drunk driving has been a serious problem since the automobile was first used. Technology like the interlock devices can assist in enforcing the DUI laws.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

DUI crushes family on Florida Vacation

imagesCAV4YHL8-thumb-333x396-30572In August 2009, Roberto Zepka and Elizabeth Manzanilla were on vacation in Florida from their home in North Carolina, but instead of relaxation and enjoyment, the family experienced tragedy at the hands of an allegedly drunk driver who killed their 2 year old daughter and seriously injured their 11 year old son.

Prosecutors say John Molnar, 38, was driving drunk when he slammed into the family’s rental car causing the wrongful death and serious injury of the two young children. Molnar has a history of speeding and drinking. In December 1999, Molnar pleaded no contest to charges of disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer. Molnar’s blood-alcohol level, according to authorities, measured 0.133 and 0.129 percent, significantly over Florida’s legal limit of .08.

Molnar was on his way home when his Cadillac hit a the family’s rented car. Isabella, who was riding in a car seat in the rear, was killed.

According to records, Molnar, failed field-sobriety exercises.The Florida Highway Patrol trooper at the scene thought Molnar appeared to under the influence, unable to stand without swaying, staggering, red eyed, speech speech and the smell of alcohol on his breath. Molnar admitted to having drunk one Yuengling beer at a friend’s house.

Recently, the family returned to Orlando, on what was supposed to be the day John Molnar plead guilty. Instead, Molnar changed his mind and elected to go trial rather than plea guilty, which was set for May of next year.

Understandably, the frustrated family expressed their opinions as to what they wanted the judge to do to Molnar. “This guy, he doesn’t have an idea of what he did to the whole family, to the life of my children,” said Manzanilla.

This type of case illustrates the all too common tragedy of DUI. Drivers, often times with a history of DUI or other offenses involving alcohol, can’t resist the opportunity to get behind the wheel rather than call a cab. In addition to the criminal penalties, which could involve substantial jail terms, drunk drivers are exposed to civil liability, which includes punitive damages as well as compensatory or actual damages. Frequently, punitive damages far outweigh the actual damages awarded by a jury in a personal injury case.Juries want to send drunk divers a lesson.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Two South Florida Teenagers killed in Truck Accident

4475848185_97e6b8b29a-thumb-333x444-17496Two young women, age 18, tragically died when their car was struck by a tractor trailer carrying a heavy load. Another passenger in the car is recovering from serious injuries.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that on the evening of March 29th, the three were in a Toyota Camry and driving east on Southern Boulevard approaching the intersection of County Road 880 as a tractor-trailer hauling thousands of pounds of lettuce was crossing.

While the details of the crash are still under investigation, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, the car struck the rear of the trailer, causing it to roll, which resulted in major crush damage to the vehicle. Incredibly, the truck driver, who was not hurt, kept going. The truck driver was pulled over later that evening and claimed to be unaware of the accident. The damage to the car was consistent with the damage to the truck.

18 Wheelers are a fact of life on any expressway in South Florida. You do not need to have a Phd in physics to appreciate the potential for disaster when a tractor trailer impacts a passenger automobile. These trucks have “black boxes” which can reveal things like the speed of the truck at the time of the crash. This type of information can be vital in determining fault for a truck accident, particularly where the occupants of the car have been killed or severely injured.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida woman charged in 2009 death while DUI

Color_Martini_040528-thumb-333x499-16501A Horry County, South Carolina grand jury recently indicted a Florida woman on traffic homicide charges arising out of the August 2009 death of a 60-year-old woman on a South Carolina Highway. Kimberly Kelley Hilburn, 39, of Winter Haven, Fla., was charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death; and two counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, according to grand jury indictments.

Glendora Faye George, 60, was killed when Horry’s vehicle crashed into hers according to the S.C. Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol said the Florida driver crossed over the center-line while driving a 1995 Chevrolet truck and struck George’s 1998 Ford sport utility vehicle. George, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt-force traumas. Five other people in the vehicle with George were also injured and taken to area hospitals.

Hilburn, who was also injured, was arrested. Whether it is South Carolina or Florida or any other location in this country, there are likely to be drunk drivers on the road. There is not much one can do to protect themselves from the carnage that these drivers can cause, particularly in a scenario like this one where another car suddenly crosses over the centerline of the roadway.

There is however from an insurance point of view, much that you can do to protect you and your family. Typically drunk drivers have a previous history of traffic violations and accidents. When insurance companies review their driver’s license records they see an obvious red flag and may raise their insurance rates or flat out deny liability coverage to these drivers. Hence, a disproportionate number of drivers who drink and drive, often fail to have liability insurance, particularly in Broward County, Florida.

Armed with this knowledge, you can purchase uninsured motorist coverage from your own insurance company at a reasonable price, up to the amount of liability coverage that you purchase. Uninsured motorist coverage, will protect you and your family in the event that you are injured by a drunk driver who fails to have liability insurance to cover your injures.

As the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention, is worth more than a pound of cure.” Unfortunately, accidents occur when you least expect them and then it is too late to purchase uninsured motorist coverage if the other driver is bare. The time to buy this most important coverage is now!

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.