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Denver Ranks as One of Worst Cities for Drunk Driving

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June 5, 2024 Personal Injury

After years of steady decline, drunk driving rates in the United States are increasing at alarming rates.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37 people die every day in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. For every one of those fatalities, dozens more are injured, many of them catastrophically.

When you live in the Denver area, you probably notice reports about drunk driving on the local news all the time. One of the reasons for these persistent tragic headlines is that Denver ranks as one of the worst U.S. cities for drunk driving.

According to a national drunk-driving study U.S. News and World Report recently published, Denver ranked second in the nation for the number of drunk-driving arrests, only slightly behind Colorado Springs, which claimed the number one spot in the nation.

These reports are bad news for just about every person in Denver. Getting struck by a drunk driver can turn your life upside down in a flash.

If a drunk driver injured you or a family member, our team of Denver drunk driving accident lawyers understands the challenges and trauma you are going through. We’ve helped many individuals and families whose lives were shattered by drunk drivers in Denver and throughout Colorado.

Call us today and let us help you get the compensation you need and deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

How Bad Is Drunk Driving in Denver?

One out of every three automobile accident deaths in Colorado involves a drunk driver, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

In one recent year, the state reported 278 deaths involving motorists who had been driving under the influence (DUI), a 60% increase from three years earlier and part of a larger trend that saw the highest spike in U.S. drunk-driving deaths since 1975.

In one recent year, 20 drunk-drunk driving deaths occurred in the Denver area. That’s 20 people who might have lived if it weren’t for the reckless and irresponsible decision of a few individuals to get behind the wheel drunk.

The number of deaths might not seem that high for a city as big as Denver, but the city and county have responded with increased enforcement actions to confront the rising levels of impaired driving, including regular sobriety checkpoints.

These checks indicate just how bad Denver’s intoxicated driving problem is.

The mile-high city ranked second in the entire nation for the number of DUI arrests per capita, far above megacities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Denver also ranks among the top 25 riskiest cities in the U.S. for drunk driving.

Does Denver Have a Drinking Problem?

A woman who is drunk and intoxicated is sleeping near a glass of whiskey. She is a heavy drinker and alcoholic, passed out and lying asleep after drinking, highlighting issues related to alcoholism.

More than 25% of Denver adults said they binge drank in the last 30 days, a recent Denver Public Health study found.

In fact, the number of residents who binge drink regularly or frequently puts Denver far ahead of every other Western U.S. city of its size, including Las Vegas.

There is no doubt Denver has a drinking culture. Denver is among the U.S. cities with the most craft breweries or microbreweries.

Bruch with all-you-can-drink mimosas, burger and beer lunch specials, happy hours that run all day, a wealth of liquor stores, a lively nightlife scene, and low alcohol taxes are some of the signs that Denver has a drinking-oriented culture.

Of course, all this alcohol consumption translates to a number of concerning health statistics. For instance, more than a third of emergency calls to 911 in Denver involve alcohol consumption in some way, rising rates of alcohol-related liver disease, and, of course, troubling rates of drunk driving.

Why is Drunk Driving so Dangerous?

Alcohol impairs all the functions a person needs to operate a motor vehicle safely.

When someone drinks and drives, they experience a drastic degradation of abilities critical to driving, including:

  • Vision: Blurred and obscured sight makes it extremely difficult to clearly see road conditions, traffic signals, pedestrians, and other potential hazards.
  • Muscle coordination: Impaired control over the body reduces the ability to steer properly, apply brakes effectively, and operate a vehicle’s various controls as needed.
  • Reaction time: Significantly slowed response speed prevents the driver from braking or taking evasive action quickly enough when faced with sudden dangers on the road.
  • Comprehension: Reduced cognitive abilities hamper the driver’s capacity to rationally process information, make sound decisions, and understand the rapidly changing driving environment around them.

The consequences can be catastrophic. The drunk driver endangers not only themselves but also passengers, other motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and bystanders.

If you follow the news in Denver, you may even recall a few instances of drunk drivers crashing cars into buildings, including a record store and a Mexican restaurant. Drunk drivers can strike anywhere, anytime.

As injury lawyers who care deeply about our community, we urge everyone to always plan for safe transportation before drinking. Arrange for a sober designated driver, use rideshare services, take public transit, call a family member, or do not drive at all.

Drunk driving is reckless and preventable. Protect yourself and others by never getting behind the wheel impaired. Your wise decisions can save priceless lives.

Recognizing the Signs of an Impaired Driver

A driver holding a bottle of alcohol while driving, illustrating the concept of drunk driving.

Almost every driver in Denver has spotted a drunk driver on the road at least once. Perhaps you’ve reported them to law enforcement. Intoxicated drivers usually exhibit continued erratic and dangerous behaviors that put others at risk.

The red flags that indicate a drunk driver include:

  • Drifting out of their lane or straddling the centerline. Drunk drivers struggle to maintain proper lane position or navigate straight paths. Their vehicle may swerve, zig-zag, or drift off the road.
  • Driving under the speed limit and braking excessively. Drunk drivers often drive slowly and brake frequently as they try to navigate the road or struggle to maintain consciousness.
  • Driving at dangerously high speeds. Alcohol makes some drivers feel overconfident or invincible, decreases their inhibitions, or distorts their perception of speed, making them more likely to engage in reckless and risky driving.
  • Driving erratically. Impaired drivers may have difficulty maintaining an appropriate constant speed. They may make abrupt changes from driving very slowly to excessively fast for no apparent reason.
  • Missing or ignoring stop signs and signals. Drunk drivers may fail to brake promptly or at all at stop signs and red lights. They may stop at intersections where they have the right of way. They may also use the wrong turn signals or fail to signal at all while turning.
  • Making unusually wide turns. Impaired drivers have reduced motor skills and struggle to gauge distances and turn angles accurately. They may make excessively wide turns.
  • Driving at night with no headlights. A driver operating a vehicle at night with no lights may throw up a red flag.

If you witness a motorist exhibiting any of these signs, maintain a safe distance. Do not try to stop or follow the driver yourself. Get to a safe location and call 911. Provide the dispatcher with details like the make, model, vehicle’s color, license plate, if possible, and the direction the vehicle is going.

Describe the driver’s behavior that makes you think they are impaired. Are they swerving in and out of their lane? Driving on the wrong side of the road? Running red lights?

The more details you can give, the better the chances police can locate and stop that driver before a tragedy occurs. Your actions could help save a life.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Denver Drunk Driving Crash

A drunk driving accident may cause injuries, emotional distress, and uncertainty about what to do next.

To protect your rights and ensure you collect all the damages you deserve:

  • If you haven’t already, seek medical attention. Some crash injuries may seem minor but can worsen over time, and some may not manifest right away. Prompt medical care is critical to your well-being and shows that you are concerned about the impacts the crash has had on your health.
  • Report the crash to the police and obtain a copy of the police report. The report serves as valuable evidence should you decide to pursue damages.
  • Preserve any evidence from the scene. If you took photographs or video of the damage, injuries, and any other relevant details, copy and keep them in a safe place. If you gathered information from witnesses, keep that and any other important information in a file.
  • Do not speak with any insurance companies until you consult a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer. Insurers of the parties involved, including your own, may minimize your claim or get you to settle for an amount that fails to compensate you for all of your damages.
  • Contact Fuicelli & Lee as soon as possible. We will investigate every detail of the crash and build a case that protects your rights and pursues the compensation you deserve. We won’t back down until we get everything that you need. We’ll argue your case to a jury if that’s what it takes.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions and attend all necessary medical appointments. Keep records of your injuries, treatments, and all related expenses.
  • Journal about the crash and how it has altered your life. Describe your emotions and all the hardships the drunk driving crash has affected you and your family. The pages you write could provide valuable insights and information for your lawyer.

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Drunk Driving Accident Case

Drinking alcohol impairs driving ability.

Personal injury cases involving a drunk-driving crash are complex. They often involve special laws and considerations.

When a drunk driver injures someone, the subsequent legal proceedings involve two separate tracks: the criminal case against the drunk driver for violating DUI laws and a civil personal injury case the victim brings against the drunk driver.

The court will handle the criminal charges separately, but what happens on that side can affect your case. The driver may face charges such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, or even vehicular assault or homicide, depending on the incident’s severity.

On the civil side, you can sue the drunk driver for all crash-related damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. However, securing this compensation is not always easy and straightforward.

One significant factor is insurance coverage. Often, the drunk driver has inadequate or limited insurance policies, making it difficult for victims to recover the full extent of their damages.

Sometimes, the at-fault driver has no insurance, or their policy has exclusions or limitations for drunk driving incidents, further complicating the claims process.

Our experienced and results-driven car accident lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and other potential sources of compensation in these complex cases.

Hit and Run Drunk Driving Crashes

Hit and run incidents involving drunk drivers add an extra layer of complexity to personal injury claims. When the at-fault driver flees the scene, it may be difficult to identify them and hold them accountable.

If the at-fault driver isn’t found, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can provide a pathway to recovery. This coverage protects you when the driver isn’t found or lacks sufficient insurance.

Your lawyer is your best advocate in this situation. We will work with the insurers to ensure you get the compensation you need.

If police find the hit and run driver, you may file a personal injury claim against them.

Colorado’s Dram Shop Laws

Modern yellow dram shop indoor with furniture 3d Illustration.

Colorado, like most states, has a Dram Shop or Liquor Liability law that holds bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other licensed alcohol vendors liable for drunk driving crashes.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes section 12-47-801, establishments that serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years old or to visibly intoxicated customers can be on the hook for damages if those customers drive drunk and cause a crash that injures someone.

If a particular establishment overserved the drunk driver who caused your injuries, Fuicelli & Lee knows how to hold them accountable. Colorado’s Dram Shop law provides an additional avenue for recovering compensation, which is especially helpful to victims when the at-fault driver has limited insurance coverage.

Several of our personal injury attorneys at Fuicelli & Lee are former prosecutors. We bring valuable experience and insights to drunk driving cases. We know how the other side works and what to expect. Above all, we know how to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Call Fuicelli & Lee Today

If you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver in Denver or anywhere in Colorado, you need experienced, results-driven lawyers on your side.

At Fuicelli & Lee, our client-first approach puts your needs and rights at the forefront of everything we do. Our team has a long and proven record of success handling the most complex drunk driving accident cases.

We know the physical, emotional, and financial toll these traumatic accidents take on individuals and their families is tremendous. That’s why we fight tirelessly to ensure that all our clients get the maximum compensation for their losses.

We don’t back down until we’ve secured a fair settlement, even if that means taking the case to trial and arguing it in front of a jury. As experienced Denver personal injury lawyers, we are prepared to do just that.

Call us today at (303) 444-4444  for your free, no-obligation consultation. We would like to evaluate your case, explain your options, and develop a complete strategy to protect your rights and future. You deserve justice, and we’re here to help you get it.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!