Drunk Driving Accidents
Who Is Responsible to Drunk Driving Crash Victims in Massachusetts
- Drivers may be held liable if they cause a car crash and you or a loved one is injured or killed.
- In Massachusetts, homeowners may also be held liable if they served the driver. This is known as social host responsibility.
- Any establishment with a liquor license which served a driver may also be liable and have to pay damages to the victim of a drunk driving crash. This is known as dram shop liability.
Drunk Driving: Impact
- In 2015, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes - about one third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the 2015 data, 96 drunk driving deaths occurred in Massachusetts. That translates to 31% of all traffic fatalities. (Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, https://www.madd.org/state-statistics/)
- In Massachusetts, approximately 15,000 to 16,500 people are charged with operating under the influence each year, according to a 2016 Boston Globe report.
- It is against the law for anyone under age 21 to consume alcohol in Massachusetts and every other state. Yet high school students drink and drive about 2.4 million times each month, according to the CDC.
- Massachusetts is ranked 31st in the nation for drunk driving enforcement by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Under current laws, many drunk drivers are able to escape conviction and avoid the criminal consequences of their dangerous driving.
Understanding Massachusetts Drunk Driving LawIn Massachusetts, you are presumed to be operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) if your blood alcohol concentration is greater than 0.08. But a blood alcohol concentration below 0.08 may still result in an impairment, especially when the alcohol is mixed with drugs. In Massachusetts, if you are operating a motor vehicle, you have given implied consent to having your blood alcohol tested—typically by a breath test which is administered in the field or at the police station. This may be followed by an actual blood test. For operators under the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration over 0.02 will result in arrest.
A conviction for operating under the influence will be strong evidence in any case involving personal injury or wrongful death. Juries have little tolerance for drunk drivers, so verdicts may be larger, and punitive damages may be available if the case involves wrongful death.
Injuries Caused by Massachusetts Drunk DriversDrunk driving injuries can be severe. A drunk driver can injure the operator and occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. They can also injure other passengers in their own vehicles.
Motor vehicle drivers are not the only ones who can be negligent. By operating under the influence, motorcyclists, ATV operators and boat operators can put others in danger.
Making Massachusetts Safer from Drunk Driving
Many states have enacted laws which require ignition interlocks which require the driver to blow into a breathalyzer unit before being able to start their car. Massachusetts is lagging far behind this national effort. Refusal to take a breath test leads to a brief license suspension. But unless the police can quickly obtain a warrant, breath and blood testing can be avoided by the suspected intoxicated driver. Massachusetts laws on revocation and child endangerment are also less than most other states. Mothers Against Drunk Driving giver our state a failing grade. See https://www.madd.org/state-statistics/ for more information.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston car accident lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing victims of drunk driving accidents. We are here to help if you have been injured by a drunk driver. Learn your rights. For a free, legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 627-723-7676 or use our contact form.