In this Blog category you will find articles about drunk driving (DUII) that cause motor vehicle accidents and your legal rights if you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver. Personal Injury suits and insurance claims may require the help of an attorney. A good lawyer can protect your rights under the law.
When we drive- that's all we should be doing. 100% attention on driving. This video is horrific but it does show us the high price of our distractions. All it takes in a moment to change or end a life.
Many people work in jobs that require them to spend a great deal of time behind the wheel: bus drivers, truck drivers, and even construction workers and other people who need to haul a great deal of equipment on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, drunk drivers killed more than 10,000 persons in 2016 alone—and drivers on the job can engage in drinking behavior just as easily as those who take to the road for personal reasons.
Does Drinking on the Job Increase Hazards?
For many people who spend countless […]
The FAQ on Auto Insurance: How much do you need and how much will it cost!
Despite strict laws against drunk driving, statistics indicate that more than 14,000 people were arrested in Oregon and more than 23,000 were arrested in Washington State for driving under the influence in 2016. Many, many more intoxicated drivers escape detection without an arrest, which means there are even more drunk drivers on the road than those statistics reflect. When you are driving in the Portland area, you should […]
The holiday season is already upon us. From late November to early January, a surge of festivities invites us to socialize with our coworkers, friends, and loved ones. Too often, there are more opportunities and obligations to imbibe than many of us can handle. Consequently, the toll for alcohol-related crashes and fatalities spikes during the holiday season. The number of personal injury claims brought forth against intoxicated persons and their handlers follows suit.
Whether you are a social host or you run an establishment that sells alcohol, be […]
Examining collision claims from January 2012 to October 2016, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), a leading insurance research group, showed in the results of its recent study that claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon increased 3% in the years since legal recreational marijuana sales began between January 2014 and October 2016, when compared with surrounding states.
The Highway Loss Data Institute’s study conducted a combined analysis using neighboring states as additional controls, to examine the collision claims experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington before and after law changes. Control states included Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, plus Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization of recreational use. Medical marijuana use was permitted during that time in Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, and Idaho did not permit it.
HLDI compared loss results for Colorado, Oregon and Washington individually with loss results for adjacent states without legalized recreational marijuana use prior to November 2016. Colorado’s increase in claim frequency was 14 percent higher than neighboring Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Washington’s claim frequency increase was 6 percent higher than in Montana and Idaho, and Oregon’s increase was 4 percent higher than in Idaho, Montana and Nevada. The combined increase for all three states was 3 percent. The study accounted for the following factors, using neighboring states with car crash increase for comparison:
- Number of vehicles on the road
- Age and gender of drivers
- Weather and seasonality
- Whether the driver was employed
“Worry that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates isn’t misplaced,” said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “HLDI’s findings on the early experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause.”
Earlier AAA Foundation Study Shows Similar Results
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a similar study in 2016, showing traffic fatalities had increased 6 percent in Washington from 2013 to 2014 after marijuana was legalized in that state, while national fatalities decreased during that time. AAA’s study showed that one in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had recently used marijuana.
AAA Study Questions Validity of Marijuana Blood Test
The AAA study also concluded that limits of THC (the intoxicating chemical in marijuana), based on blood test established by states with legal marijuana, have no scientific basis because there is no science that shows drivers become impaired at a specific level of THC in the blood. Frequent users of the drug can also show persistent levels of it long after use, while THC levels can decline more rapidly in occasional users, causing innocent drivers to be convicted and guilty drivers released. The average time to collect blood from a suspected driver is often more than two hours, requiring a warrant and transport to a police station or hospital for testing. By that time, the drug may no longer be present.
Because blood tests are imprecise with measuring levels of THC, the AAA Foundation recommended replacing current laws with ones that rely on police officer conducted field sobriety tests, backed up by a test for the presence of THC.
Oregon Police Drug Recognition Program
In Oregon, police officers attend a Drug Recognition Program. When an officer in Oregon pulls over a car for a traffic violation such as speeding, swerving, or broken taillights or if the driver is suspected of a crime, the officer evaluates the driver for the following obvious signs:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Candy bar wrappers
- “Beavis and Butthead” type laugh
When the officer suspects that the person is intoxicated, he or she asks the driver to undergo the following field sobriety test:
- Balancing on a line and walking with one foot in front of the other
- Balancing on one leg
- Touching one finger to the nose
Field Sobriety Tests Used by California Police
Police officers in California use a somewhat different set of field sobriety tests.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
The officer moves an object or his or her own finger from side to side in front of the person’s face to detect an involuntary jerking of the eye associated with high levels of intoxication. A person’s eye will normally jerk after being strained beyond a 45 degree angle. If the eye begins to jerk at or before moving 45 degrees, it is evidence that the driver is under the influence.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that this test is 77 percent reliable.
Walk and Turn Test (also called the “Walk the Line Test”)
The officer asks the suspected offender to walk a certain number of steps in a straight line and observes if the person:
- Loses balance
- Makes the wrong number of steps
- Is unable to stay on the line
- Breaks while walking
- Begins before instructed
NHTSA estimates that this test is effective 68 percent of the time.
One Leg Stand Test
The officer instructs a suspect standing on one leg to raise his or her foot, hold still, count, and look down. The officer may arrest the suspect if he or she is:
- Putting the raised foot down
NHTSA estimates that this test is effective 65 percent of the time. […]
As soon as the Thanksgiving Day turkey is consumed, there is a heightened awareness of impaired drivers on the road. The holiday season marks the most active for drunk drivers, with the day before Thanksgiving Day, the Thanksgiving Day Weekend, and New Year’s Day experiencing the highest concentration of intoxicated drivers and car accidents in Portland.
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 40% of traffic deaths that occur the week between Christmas and New Year’s are due to drunken driving. Approximately 400 drunk driving fatalities occur over the Thanksgiving holiday, as businesses are closed, […]
Driving any vehicle under the influence of marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational use, is illegal in Oregon. While a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of a driver’s blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that a driver is under the influence, when marijuana is involved, any amount that was in the driver’s blood or urine while he was driving will establish that the driver was under the influence.
Unlike alcohol, there is no set amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principle psychoactive chemical substance in marijuana/cannabis, in the blood or urine of […]
It seems asinine that a drug less toxic and less responsible for deaths than alcohol ever made it to the drug category deemed most dangerous by the federal government. While marijuana reform is gaining ground across the U.S., the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance, on par with dangerous substances like heroin and bath salts.
Schedule I controlled substances are classified based on having a high abuse potential and no currently accepted medical use. Every day, this outdated view of marijuana is changing in our country, and with the upcoming election, it is […]
More adults over age 26 are using marijuana in Oregon than in any other part of the country. Since recreational marijuana was officially legalized in 2015, marijuana use has been climbing at a rate above that of the national average. Legalization has ushered in a wave of users who downplay the negative effects of the drug or deny them altogether. This relaxed attitude is especially prominent among teens who are now using marijuana more than smoking cigarettes.
Using marijuana inflicts physical and psychological effects on the body. Physical effects are more prominent in users who smoke the drug, while psychological […]