The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) recently issued a news release encouraging drivers to refrain from operating vehicles while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The message is part of the agency’s push to use education as well as aggressive enforcement actions to keep impaired drivers off the state’s roadways.

Why the focus on impaired drivers?

The FHP is pushing to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related accidents in the state. Unfortunately, these accidents remain a serious problem in Florida. According to recent data, there were 1,822 drug impaired crashes from January 2018 through December of 2019. These accidents resulted in 1,118 fatalities and 1,571 injuries. The most recent data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department also shows some concerning numbers. According to this agency, the number of drug and alcohol confirmed crashes in the state increased by 8.7% from 2017 to 2018.

Is there significance in the timing of the announcement?

The timing of the FHP’s announcement correlates with spikes in these types of crashes that typically occur around spring break and throughout the summertime. The agency is hoping to encourage residents and tourists alike to enjoy the state’s beaches and other offerings carefully as the state begins to reopen while operating their vehicles with caution — better ensuring everyone gets home safely.

What happens when an impaired driver causes a car accident?

Drivers can face criminal penalties. This can lead to monetary fines, loss of one’s driver’s license and potential imprisonment. These penalties will depend on the details of the accident and whether or not the driver has a history of similar accidents.

Victims of an accident caused by an impaired driver may be eligible for legal remedies through a personal injury lawsuit. This can lead to funds to help cover the expenses that result from the accident. These expenses can include medical bills and lost wages. An attorney experienced in these types of claims can review the details of your accident and discuss your options.