In January of this year, a Georgia motorist allegedly took drunk driving to another level, embarking on what can only be described as a car crash crime spree. According to CBS Atlanta and the Huffington Post, 70-year-old Michael Snider was involved in hit-and-run accidents with as many as 17 vehicles before he was finally apprehended by police officials – and only after smashing his car into the side of a restaurant. His January 23 spree spanned several hours, two counties (including Gwinnett and DeKalb counties) and left at least one person dead. Personal injury attorneys feel that what makes the situation even more interesting (and certainly more disturbing) is the description of Snider given by witnesses. The Post reports that motorists may have actually observed Snider purposefully targeting and bearing down on other drivers. His own words following his capture failed to elicit any doubt. He reportedly told officers, “Do you know who I am? I do whatever I want.”
Of course, with his alcohol consumption levels, it’s highly possible that that statement was more likely the result of liquid courage versus sincere sentiment. Word has it that that he began to sing a different tune once he sobered up and learned that his recklessness had culminated in the death of another person. In fact, he reportedly required counseling after learning the ultimate cost of his joyride. He has since been charged with vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, DUI, reckless driving and following too closely.
If anything, this incident is a prime demonstration of how many and how greatly lives can be affected and forever changed -all within the blink of an eye.
Georgia, and indeed the entire nation, saw a spate of similar drunk driving incidents last year. While the drivers involved in those car crashes may not have specifically targeted other motorists, the unfortunate outcome was often the same. Quite a few of them garnered marked of media attention because they involved police officers being fatally struck by oncoming vehicles during routine traffic stops. Many are hoping that this attention will bring awareness regarding the seriousness of the issue to the forefront of consumer consciousness.
The car accidents also served to highlight one important thing: impaired driving is a major safety risk, as well as an expensive one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based out of Atlanta, Georgia, “every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.” The CDC’s Website states that young people are most at risk for driving impaired, but the Snider car crash is evidence that people of all ages are at risk.
Atlanta car accident attorneys assist victims with the aftermath of car crashes every day. Occasionally we find that those crashes may have been unavoidable, but when it comes to drunken driving prevention is key to avoiding senseless injury. Previously we discussed the effectiveness of ignition interlocks, devices that prevent anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a certain level from driving, but there are other preventative measures that may be taken as well, including the traditional sobriety checkpoints and health promotion campaigns.
The CDC also lists the following additional suggested measures:
• Reducing the illegal BAC threshold to 0.05%.17, 18, 19
• Raising state and federal alcohol excise taxes.18, 20
• Mandatory blood alcohol testing when traffic crashes result in injury.
Check out their Web site for more information at: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunken driving accident, our drunk driving attorneys may be able to give you the assistance you need. Visit our Web site at www.robertnkatz.com.