(Contributed post for our North American readers. Image source: Pexels.com)
Drunk driving remains a serious issue. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 10,874 people died in drunk driving accidents. This should be enough reason to enforce laws that reduce the number of DUI cases per year.
Then again, these cases do not exclusively involve drunk drivers. They also include sober drivers who were injured by drivers under the influence. Whether you are riding a motorcycle or driving a four-wheel vehicle, it’s important to drive defensively to decrease your risk of being in a car accident and to know how to handle an accident caused by drunk driving.
Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to handling a DUI-related accident.
- Check for injuries
Whether you’re involved in the crash yourself or just driving by, it’s always important to check the conditions of those who were directly involved. Determine whether anyone is unconscious or injured. You might need to determine the severity of injuries and if anyone is trapped by the wreckage. If you already have first aid training, you may be able to help those injured until first responders can be on the scene. If there are any injuries, contacting emergency responders is the best thing to do.
- Call emergency services
Once you have surveyed the situation for injuries and complications, you will need to contact local law enforcement or emergency services in the area as per state law. Never attempt to conduct a rescue operation yourself if you don’t have the proper training and equipment to do so. To be on the safe side, make sure to wait for the responding authorities and give them any information you can provide them about the scene.
- Be careful when talking to police and the victims
Once the injured are brought to safety and treated for injuries, police are bound to hold you for questioning, especially if there are no other witnesses on the scene. In some cases, they might consider you a suspect. It’s best not to let them get any ideas that might complicate things on your end. The same goes when talking to victims. Any slight slip of the tongue could lead you to a court battle, in which case a DUI defense attorney will be helpful. So, unless you’ve been asked to, don’t make any categorical statements to anyone.
- Prepare a report
It’s important to write a consistent narrative. Conflicting details can jeopardize your case, so be very particular with dates and names, and provide your lawyer with a chronological sequence of events. Whether or not you’re the one who is driving under the influence, accuracy is important so be sure to stick to whatever honest facts you can work with. Flip-flopping can only result in problems.
A DUI is a serious offense and no one in his right mind would want to be involved in one. Nevertheless, knowing what to do in case of a drunk driving accident is crucial to saving lives and seeking justice.