Apr 2013

Rhode Island DUI Injuries Reported in Route 146N Crash

Massachusetts attorneys

Multiple people, including a state police officer, suffered injuries recently after a drunk driver reportedly barreled down Route 146 North with no apparent regard for the lives he was putting at risk.

Our Providence DUI injury attorneys have learned that the incident happened near the 1-295 interchange, where an officer has responded to a request to assist a motorist who had broken down on the side of the roadway.

Investigators are still piecing together the details, but they suspect that as the officer was outside his vehicle helping the stranded motorist, the drunk driver reportedly plowed into the police car – totaling it – before slamming into the broken-down vehicle as well.

While the injuries sustained were extensive, it’s believed that, miraculously, everyone will survive.

The driver who was reportedly drunk has so far been charged with DWI, driving to endanger and possession of narcotics. It’s probable that additional charges could follow.

Drunk driving cases are some of the most tragic and frustrating because not only are they 100 percent preventable, so often we see the person at-fault walking away from the wreckage with a few scrapes and bruises, while the victims may not walk away at all.

In Rhode Island, nearly 40 percent of all traffic-related deaths are connected to impaired driving, according to the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Our state reportedly incurs roughly $153 million annually in costs for drunken drivers. That includes not only the property damage, hospital bills and emergency responders, but also lost wages and lost productivity.

In this case, we don’t know how old the driver was, but we do know that a recent survey showed nearly 40 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 20 in Rhode Island reported consuming alcohol within the last month. That amounts to 52,000 people. To assume that none of those individuals stepped behind the wheel of a car would be foolish.

While the state did see an 11 percent decrease in DUI fatalities from 2011 to 2010, the state failed in both 2011 and 2012 to pass a measure that would have mandated ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders – not just those guilty of repeat offenses. This is maddening because it truly is a simple way to check those who have proven themselves untrustworthy behind the wheel.

Here’s the reality: By the time a person is stopped and arrested for drunk driving, MADD calculates that he or she has actually been behind the wheel impaired at least 80 times. Not everyone gets that lucky, of course, but we certainly can’t assume that just because someone got caught one time means it’s the first time they’ve done it.

In the last five years, we have seen 133 people in Rhode Island die as a result of the careless and negligent actions of a drunk driver.

With regard to repeat offenders, MADD reports that there are some 3,500 three-time offenders and nearly 550 FIVE-time offenders.

If you have been injured in a Rhode Island DUI accident, contact The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at (508) 677-4900.

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