While the shutdown of restaurants and bars amid the COVID-19 pandemic led to fewer impaired drivers on Florida’s roads and highways, an increasing number of motorists are taking advantage of the state’s uncongested roads to put the hammer down.
According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal citing the Florida Highway Patrol, authorities have been seeing fewer drunken drivers in Florida due to the state’s stay-at-home order as well as the mandatory shutdown of bars and restaurants.
However, while drunk driving accidents have decreased during the coronavirus pandemic, more people are driving at a higher speed on interstates left open by the shutdown.
Fewer Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida During the COVID-19 Pandemic
FHP Lt. Kim Montes said that “less people are getting in crashes” because “they are not going out drinking and driving.”
Statistically speaking, troopers made just 15 drunken driving arrests from March 17 through March 27, a more than 60-percent decrease compared to the same period last year (39 DUI arrests in 2019). Auto accidents were also down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that period in 2018, FHP investigated 1,936 vehicle crashes, compared to only 954 car accidents during the same time this year, a drop of over 50%. Montes insisted that the combination of the stay-at-home orders, the shutdown of bars and restaurants, and even curfews in some areas have contributed to the plummeting drunk driving rates in Florida.
More Drivers Speeding on Uncongested Roads
However, despite the decreased number of impaired driving arrests and crashes in Florida, more motorists are tempted to speed over the posted speed limit due to uncongested roads and the open expanses on Interstate 4 and Interstate 95.
According to Montes, troopers are catching drivers doing “20, 30, 40 miles over the posted speed limit” during the pandemic. He explained that more drivers are “rocketing down the road at higher speeds” because there is not as much congestion due to the stay-at-home orders.
Seeking Compensation After a Drunk Driving Crash in Florida
However, if you were injured by an impaired motorist during the coronavirus pandemic, you could still seek monetary compensation by bringing a personal injury claim. Although Florida’s courts limit their operations to “essential” procedures and hearings, you can start building your case and gathering evidence.
The evidence may include photos and videos from the scene, medical documents related to your injury, police reports showing that the other driver was impaired, witness statements, and many more. If the impaired motorist was convicted of DUI, you might be able to use the conviction to increase the value of your claim.
Florida’s laws allow injured individuals to file a civil claim against drunk drivers whose impaired driving resulted in the injury. For your claim to succeed, you must prove that the drunk driver was negligent, reckless, or careless, which caused or contributed to the crash.
Establishing fault in a personal injury claim is not easy, even when an impaired motorist is involved. That is why you must get legal assistance from a Lakeland drunk driving attorney at The Turnbull Firm to help you navigate the process. Call at 407-612-6464 or 863-324-3500 to get a consultation.