Drunk Driving Deaths Skyrocket During Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner, and for many families this means taking road trips, heading to another state, or having a “staycation” right at home. While this can be the perfect opportunity to relax and spend quality time with your loved ones, it can also be dangerous.

This week of the year has earned a reputation for alcohol consumption and party culture, especially among high school and college-aged people. A byproduct of this is people getting behind the wheel when under the influence. According to nationwide crash data, traffic fatalities increase by about 9.1% in spring break destinations from February to April, while those resulting from drunk driving could see as much as a 23% jump.

Keeping Safety in Mind

The risk of harm that comes with drunk driving is far too great, and it’s important for parents to have meaningful conversations with their teen/young adult children about the dangers of driving under the influence. Although you cannot always be there in person to protect them, you can remind them that staying in the same location, using a rideshare service, or having a designated driver is always safer than getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.

Furthermore, it’s important to teach them to recognize signs of intoxication. Many young people often believe that “buzzed driving” isn’t as egregious and can’t do as much harm. Not only is this false, but it can be dangerous as they may be more susceptible to getting into a vehicle with someone who doesn’t physically appear intoxicated. Even at lower blood alcohol concentration levels (BAC), slurred speech, blurry vision, changes in emotions or aggression levels, and lack of coordination can indicate intoxication.

What to Do If You’ve Been in a Drunk Driving Accident

If you or someone you know has been in a drunk driving accident, seeking medical attention is vital. Even if no one is visibly injured, there could be underlying injuries that are not immediately apparent. Additionally, make sure to contact your local police department as soon as possible and file an incident report. An attorney specializing in drunk driving accidents can also help you or your loved ones get the justice they deserve and financial compensation for medical bills, damages, lost wages, and to protect your future.

Attorney Matt Bretz of Bretz Injury Law has spent over 30 years helping injury victims and their families recover the compensation needed to seek medical treatment, recover lost wages, and protect their future. Mr. Bretz is also on the National Board of Directors for MADD and understands the devastating impact that drunk driving can have on a family.

Contact today to discuss your legal options.

Drunk vs. Drugged Driving

The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence

When the term “driving under the influence” is used, people often associate it strictly with drunk driving. However, this can also mean being under the influence of drugs, an issue that is steadily growing in the United States.

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drug use among fatally injured drivers increased by 17% from 2007 to 2016. Among these fatalities, cannabis, polydrug use (more than one type at a time), and stimulants were the most commonly found in the driver’s system. Despite the lack of conversation surrounding drugged driving, all motorists should be aware of the effects drugs can have on their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Comparing the Effects of Drunk vs. Drugged Driving

It’s important to understand how both alcohol and drugs can affect your body and, as a result, your driving ability. While they can both impair judgment and reaction times, there are also other issues that may arise.

Alcohol Use

When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and quickly travels to the brain where it begins to affect the central nervous system. This can lead to:

  • Slower reflexes
  • Reduced coordination
  • Decreased ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Poor short-term memory

All of these effects can make it extremely dangerous to get behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving is responsible for nearly 30% of all motor vehicle fatalities in the United States.

Drug Use

While the effects of alcohol use on driving ability are widely known, the influence of drugs is not as commonly discussed. This may be because different drug classifications impair the body in different ways. For example, cannabis (or marijuana) causes reduced coordination, poor lane tracking, and impaired visual function. In contrast, stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines may make drivers more aggressive, reduce concentration, and increase risk-taking.

These impairments, whether through alcohol or drug use, can have fatal consequences. To stay as safe as possible when behind the wheel, driving sober is always the best option.

Kansas Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Drivers who endanger others should be brought to justice. The team at Bretz Injury Law aims to protect your future by holding these negligent individuals accountable for their actions and help you obtain the compensation needed to seek medical treatment and replace lost wages. When you’ve been injured, Matt Bretz is here to help. Get started with a free consultation today by calling .

Police: Renowned Wichita DJ killed in a drunk driving accident

Renowned Wichita radio DJ Don Hall died in a traffic collision, according to The Wichita Eagle. The car accident happened at the intersection of Kellogg Dr. and Rock Rd. Police believe that the crash may have been caused by a driver who was impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.

The driver who caused the crash was reportedly arrested at the scene. Hall was found pinned in his car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hall was in radio for 45 years and hosted KEYN’s morning radio show with Barbara Baan. He also served as the public address announcer for Shocker basketball games at Wichita State University. Former co-workers, friends and fans paid tribute to Hall on social media.

These types of collisions are 100% preventable

Drunk driving resulted in approximately 10,511 traffic fatalities across the United States in 2018, according to the NHTSA. In Kansas, 88 out of 404 traffic fatalities in 2018 involved a drunk driver.

Attorney Matt Bretz — who serves on the national Board of Directors for MADD — has made it very clear that these types of collisions are 100 percent preventable.

Anyone who has had too much to drink or has used recreational or prescription drugs can make a conscious decision to refrain from driving. When someone who chooses to get behind the wheel cause a crash, there is no disputing who was at fault.

If you were hurt in a crash, or lost a loved one, due to the actions of an impaired driver, don’t hesitate to consult with a Kansas car accident attorney who can handle your claim and legally advocate for you.

Why are impaired drivers so dangerous?

Both alcohol and drugs can affect drivers in the following ways:

  • Impaired judgment of their surroundings and obstacles in the road
  • Delayed reaction and response time to avoid a crash
  • Loss of physical coordination needed to maintain control of a vehicle
  • Increased risk of drowsy driving
  • Increased risk of speeding, aggressive driving, and dangerous maneuvers

How can a lawyer help me if I was hurt in a crash with an impaired driver?

It’s very hard to dispute evidence of alcohol or drug impairment at the scene of a crash. That’s unless the at-fault driver isn’t noticeably impaired, police don’t perform a roadside sobriety test, or the driver leaves the scene of the crash.

When police arrive to investigate, the at-fault driver may be placed under arrest. This would be documented in the police report and would serve as critical supporting evidence in your car accident claim.

The legal team at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers can use this to help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance provider. We can fight for a fair settlement so you can be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Our attorney may also fight for punitive damages to punish the driver and send a clear message to society that drunk driving isn’t acceptable.

Contact us online or call us at (866) 881-0103 to find out how we can help you. We offer free and confidential case consultations.

Why Fall is a Dangerous Time for Drunk Driving Accidents

A tragic drunk driving accident allegedly took the life of a Kansas police officer recently, according to the Wichita Eagle. The officer had been on the job for close to 21 years when the tragic accident happened, and he had just celebrated the birthday of his four year old daughter. The officer was conducting a traffic stop at approximately 1:30 AM and within minutes of the stop, a pickup truck slammed into the back of the officer’s patrol car. The patrol car was engulfed in flames, and the impact of the collision was so great nearby residents indicated they were awoken by a sound which was as loud as thunder.

The pickup truck driver fled the scene of the collision, but was captured a short time later by police dogs and was taken to the hospital for the treatment of his injuries. The driver of the pickup is suspected of being intoxicated at the time of the incident. Unfortunately, drunk driving car accidents can happen at any time, but are especially common during the fall season. Drivers need to be aware of the added risks of intoxicated driving collisions during fall and make sure they do their part to avoid contributing to the problem of impaired driving.

Why Fall is a Dangerous Time for Drunk Driving Accidents

There are many reasons why fall is a high-risk time for impaired driving collisions.  Some of the issues include:

  • College students returning to school. Wichita State University, Wichita Area Technical College, and Newman University are among the colleges in Wichita. When college students return to class to start a new semester, they often celebrate by drinking with friends. This can result in intoxicated young people on the roads.
  • Football season. According to Bloomberg, one in 10 football fans is legally drunk by the end of each football game.  Further, among people who attend tailgate parties, there is a 14 times greater risk of intoxication compared with people who don’t go to parties. Around one in four tailgaters consume five or more drinks while tailgating. With people leaving games intoxicated, or leaving football parties intoxicated, there is a substantial risk of drunk driving accidents.
  • Fall holidays. Halloween and Thanksgiving are both big drinking days, and the risk of intoxicated drivers on Halloween is compounded by the fact there are also lots of pedestrians on the roads in many locations.

Drivers need to make sure they do not drink and drive, whether they are celebrating a return to college, enjoying a football game, celebrating a holiday, or simply enjoying fall.  Other motorists also should be watchful for drunk drivers and should report suspicious vehicles to police if they see signs of weaving or other evidence of intoxication in their fellow motorists. If drivers do become intoxicated and cause collisions to occur, victims have the right to pursue a claim for compensation from the drunk driver who hurt them or who caused the death of a family member.

Drugged Driving Accidents Rival Drunk Driving Crashes

The number of drivers under the influence of drugs who are  involved in fatal car accidents has skyrocketed nationwide in the last decade, according to a new study analyzing the risks posed by drugged drivers. Specifically, the study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that 40 percent of all fatally-injured drivers tested positive for drugs – almost the same level as drivers testing positive for drunk driving.

The increase in the number of drugged driving accidents has happened quickly nationwide. In 2005, a total of 25 percent of deceased drivers tested positive for drugs. In 2013, that figure had risen to 39.9 percent, according to The Washington Post, one of several news organizations nationwide to report such startling figures.

The drugs involved in such accidents vary, according to the GHSA. Some drivers test positive to marijuana, which is legal for medical use in Washington, DC and 23 states, as well for recreational use in 4 states and Washington, DC. Other drivers test positive for powerful prescription pain killers.

What can be done to reduce car accidents caused by drugged drivers?

Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of the GHSA, insists that the time for action on this issue is now. “Every state must take steps to reduce drug-impaired driving, regardless of the legal status of marijuana,” Adkins said. “This is the first report to provide states … with the information they need. And we encourage NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to issue guidance on best practices to prevent marijuana-impaired driving. We look to the federal government to take a leadership role in this issue similar to that of drunk driving and seat belt use.”

Dr. James Hedlund, who authored the GHSA report analyzing the dangers of drugged driving, and the GHSA both recommend implementing a nationwide educational campaign about the dangers of drugged driving. They are also urging authorities to continue to rigorously test drivers suspected of driving under the influence in order to accurately assess the scope of the problem.

Kansas car accident lawyer Matthew L. Bretz of Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers of Hutchinson, Kansas, strongly supports such efforts. “This dramatic rise in fatal car accidents caused by drivers under the influence of drugs should be the alarm that wakes up society to the seriousness of this problem,” Bretz said. “We as a country have done a tremendous job of educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving. Now we need to do the same about drugged driving.”

“Drivers under the influence of drugs cause all sorts of accidents,” Bretz said. “This includes the most common type of accident – rear-end car crashes. The risk of a driver causing a rear-end accident while under the influence of drugs is very real. Impaired drivers don’t react as fast as sober drivers. That’s why more needs to be done to put an end to rear-end car accidents and other types of crashes caused by drivers under the influence of drugs.”

How can a lawyer help me after a car crash caused by a drugged driver?

The laws regarding medical marijuana, prescription drugs and other medications change constantly. Currently, marijuana use is against the law in Kansas. But efforts to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Kansas were introduced as recently as this year, according to KCUR radio.

The same news report on KCUR cited a study that marijuana-related care accidents would likely increased in Kansas if lawmakers decide to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Such findings were based on auto accident statistics in 14 other states that have legalized medical marijuana.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana or another controlled substance, it is critical that you have an attorney on your side who understands the laws in Kansas and knows how to investigate such cases. Without an experienced Kansas auto accident attorney on your side, you could jeopardize your ability to obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.