No one can argue that alcohol and/or illegal drugs make a person less sober, making certain activities wherein he/she may engage in, especially driving, a cause of great danger. Drunken driving is a major problem that has continuously plagued all countries around the globe. This is because despite the laws, which prohibit driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), programs from the government and endorsements from non-governmental organizations that warn of the dangers of drunk driving, many still stubbornly act in contrast of proper driving behavior; others simply underestimate or refuse to recognize dangers it presents.

Clamping Down on Drunken Drivers

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, many states now require more police and traffic enforcer visibility, more sobriety checkpoints (to enable law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver was impaired or not, as well as determine his/her level of alcohol impairment), and stricter implementation of drunk driving laws to substantially decrease the number of fatal car crashes due to DUI or DWI, which number to more than 10,000 every year during the last decade.

The blood alcohol concentration limit (BAC) for drivers observed in all US states is 0.08%; for commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%, while for individuals below 21 years old, it is zero tolerance). This means that anyone driving with a BAC level of 0.08% or higher will be charged with a DUI or DWI offense.

The Harsh Punishments of a DUI Charge

Drunk driving is a very serious traffic violation in some states, so that the penalties imposed on drivers range from heavy to harsh. While first time DUI or DWI offenders are usually given only a misdemeanor conviction, which is punishable by a maximum of one year imprisonment (some states only require several days in jail), a fine (of at least $500) and suspension of driver’s license for about 90 days, those convicted of felony are imprisoned for more than a year, fined up to $2,000, may suffer the revocation of their license, or either the confiscation of his/her vehicle or the cancellation of its registration or the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) inside his/her vehicle (the IID is a handheld device that is attached to the vehicle’s dashboard. It is designed to sense the presence and level of alcohol in the driver’s breath and, if alcohol is sensed, the car will not start. The IID’s preset BAC level is between 0.02% and 0.04%).

In 2012, about 10,322 individuals died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents; 32% of the accident involved very young adults, aged between 21 and 24, while 27% involved those aged between 25 and 34. Agility due to young age is never a guarantee of safety on the road; thus, if agility will never save a driver, much more less sobriety due to alcohol.

Wisconsin Road Defect Immunity Law

The state of Wisconsin is a tough nut to crack when it comes to road defect claims. This is because of the recently passed SB 125, or the so-called “Hazardous Highways” Bill, which absolves Wisconsin municipalities from a general responsibility in properly maintaining roads and other infrastructure. What does this mean for Wisconsin motorists who may sustain injuries in the future because of a road defect resulting from poor highway maintenance? It means that they either get a really good road defect lawyer or just lump it.

A lawyer conversant with the road defect laws of Wisconsin will be able to assess if a particular case will get past the immunity laws of the state, or if filing a personal injury suit is just a waste of time. Even before SB 125, Wisconsin lawyers had to contend with the $50,000 ceiling on road defect-based claims, which is paltry when in some cases the actual medical bills far exceed that sum, not to mention loss of income and other costs related to the sustained injury. With the new law in effect, most road defect victims will not even get that much.

But it is possible to circumvent the law if it can be proven that the municipality had a duty of care to the injured party under another Wisconsin statute. The role of the lawyer is to find the applicable statutes so that a claim for personal injury can be filed. This is why it is important to find a lawyer who is familiar with the state laws for road defect cases.

Most Americans take it for granted that they are safe on the road as long as they drive responsibly and follow the rules of the road. In most states that is a reasonable presumption, but not in Wisconsin under SB 125. When it comes to road defect accidents, there is not much that a motorist can do except to hope for the best and to find a good road defect lawyer.

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