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Lake County Personal Injury Lawyer

On New Year’s Eve, a 25-year-old woman was arrested on DUI charges after crashing her vehicle into Riverside Brookfield High School. The collision, which occurred around 2:40 a.m., was one of only a handful of drunk driving collisions in the greater Chicago area during the recent holiday season. For law enforcement officials and the public, the low number of drunk driving accidents represented a victory for anti-DUI initiatives. 

Holiday Drunk Driving

The holiday season brings celebrations, and many of those involve the consumption of alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of American adults admit to drinking more during the holidays. It should come as no surprise that more than 33 percent of all December traffic fatalities occur between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

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Chicago car accident attorney marijuana duiWhen most people think of driving under the influence, they think of drivers that have made the decision to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. In reality, a substantial number of DUI arrests involve drivers under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. Throughout the United States, nine states have legalized recreational marijuana, and an additional two states have initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana on the ballot this fall. Here in the state of Illinois, medical marijuana was legalized in 2013, through House Bill 1. The bill allows those who have medical marijuana permit to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. 

Proponents of legalized marijuana cite the reduced number of arrests for minor drug possession and boosted tax revenue as reasons for legalization. However, those that oppose legalized marijuana will have a new talking point this voting cycle: legalized marijuana appears to have led to a clear increase in Lake County motor vehicle accident attorney

Legalized Marijuana Endangering Drivers 

According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motor vehicle collision insurance claims were up by 6% in states in which recreational marijuana has become legal. The study was conducted through a comparison of vehicular collision insurance claims in a number of states with legalized marijuana (Colorado, Oregon, Washington), as opposed to states that have declined to legalize marijuana. An additional study conducted using data from the Highway Loss Data Institute found that police-reported crashes rose in the same states by 5.2% post-legalization.  

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Chicago drunk driving car accident attorneyRecently, a man was charged with a DUI after his involvement in a fatal three-vehicle crash in Schaumburg. Emergency personnel were called to the scene shortly after the accident, and one of the vehicle drivers passed away from injuries hours after the collision. The 25-year-old man was charged with the DUI, and he was allegedly driving under the influence of illegal drugs when he collided with two different vehicles before driving into a field off of East Schaumburg Avenue.  

The tragedy marks just the latest motor vehicle accident involving drugs or alcohol in the greater Chicago area. If you or your family are impacted by the negligent and reckless actions of a drunk driver, finding proper legal representation can help you obtain the legal guidance and financial compensation you deserve. 

DUI Statistics Throughout Illinois

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DUI accidentsDrunk driving is not a new problem, nor are governmental programs initiated as a means to combat it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) first Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by drivers was first conducted in 1973, and since then the rate of drunk driving has continually declined. That is not to say that the problem is solved — about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve an intoxicated driver with a blood alcohol content above the legal level and in 2012 it was estimated that drunk drivers got behind the wheel roughly 112 million times in 2010 alone.

Illinois — likely in part to the severe crackdowns around major metropolitan areas, especially Chicago — had a slightly lower rate of drunk driving fatalities than was the national average in 2012. Residents of the state may also be more willing to admit when they got behind the wheel when they should not have. Less than 2 percent of the national population admits to driving after drinking too much, while 2.2 percent of Illinois residents purport to having done so in the past 30 days.

While this information may be sobering — and alcohol is still the intoxicant which causes the vast majority of DUI accidents — recent studies show that trends are moving away from alcohol when it comes to DUI fatalities even as the use of other drugs by a driver are increasing. The 2015 NHTSA Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use found that the number of drivers with any alcohol in their bloodstream had decreased by more than 30 percent in the past eight years, while the same time period saw a marked increase in the number of drivers having gotten behind the wheel after smoking marijuana or using other illegal drugs.

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,There is no shortage of stories of drunk drivers who caused major accidents and then got behind the wheel again — drunk. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately one-third of people driving drunk on the road are repeat offenders, meaning that they have been arrested for or convicted of DWI in the past. The problem appears to compound itself as well: the NHTSA reports that drivers with prior DWI convictions are also more likely to be in fatal crashes. Only 3 percent of all licensed drivers had one prior arrest for DWI within the previous three years; disproportionately, 12 percent of all DWI drivers involved in a fatal crash were repeat offenders.

Such is the recent case in Chicago, in which a man, who served a five-year prison term for a drunk-driving crash that killed a teenage girl in 2003, was found slumped behind his steering wheel after hitting two parked cars. According to the Chicago Tribune, however, because of sentencing guidelines, the man could spend less than a year in prison, and remain on parole only a year after his release; despite the fact that he was also driving on a suspended license at the time of arrest.

Many victims of drunk driving accidents — and legislators— believe that though a person may serve jail time when convicted for the criminal offense of drunk driving, a person faces little consequences on the administrative side of the system when he or she applies for a new license. In Illinoisdrivers who are convicted of DWI are expected to serve "hard time" for the offense, meaning they are not legally allowed to drive, period. This leads some to simply drive, sometimes drunk, without a license. A new law being discussed in Illinois would require all convicted drunk drivers to install a breathalyzer ignition device in the car; but would not require for the suspension of a license.

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