Articles Posted in DWI

Have you seen a driver keep drifting into your lane, hitting the rumble strip or running a red light until another driver beeps the horn and he slams on his brakes?

The driver is drunk, right? No, maybe he or she fell asleep at the wheel.

The effects of sleep deprivation are similar to alcohol consumption. Going 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to drinking until you have reached a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which would put you legally over the limit. Unlike drinking, however, you may not worry about feeling a little tired.

Presumably everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous. But the seriousness of drowsy driving is not widely appreciated.

A person who would not consider getting behind the wheel after getting wasted at a bar might think nothing about doing so after being awake all night or only getting five hours of sleep. Continue reading

Based on our first week, unfortunately no.

After an extremely dangerous New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day caused by icy roads and the drunks driving on them, the first week in North Texas started on a sad note with four people dying in car accidents Six people tragically were killed here since that time.

And on Friday police announced the cause of the crash that killed former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn in Irving several months ago.

The causes of this weekend’s fatal Dallas-Fort Worth auto accidents were the usual suspects:

  • Rear-end collision at intersection. A mother and her seven year-old daughter were killed when their passenger van was struck from behind while making a left turn. The driver of the pickup truck that rear-ended the van claimed not to have seen the vehicle at the Johnson County intersection. In other words, he wasn’t paying attention.
  • Drunk driver heading wrong way. A wrong-way driver on Texas 121 in Grapevine killed a Fort Worth man when he crashed head-on into his vehicle. The wrong-way driver was drunk at the time, and he survived with only minor injuries, of course. He’s been charged with intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and intoxication assault with a vehicle.

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The New Year’s Eve forecast calls for extremely low temperatures, possible and dangerous driving conditions Not exactly the weather we had hoped for to ring in the new year.

Happy New Year

And to make our roads even worse, drunk driving will also spike this weekend. Alcohol already accounts for one-third of all fatal accidents and that number skyrockets to 42 percent on New Year’s Eve.

I passed a crash at an intersection driving into the office this morning — and the weekend hasn’t even started yet.

But you can still enjoy a happy and safe new year’s celebration.  Continue reading

Yesterday I attended my first Mothers Against Driving Advisory Board meeting in Dallas. As a long-time supporter of MADD, I am glad to be able to work closer with this worthwhile organization so we can prevent drunk driving in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This is crucial. DWIs are far too common. There were over 4,000 crashes caused by drunk drivers in Dallas and Tarrant Counties last year. Tragically they took the lives of 139 people and injured over 3,000 people. This has got to stop.

Just since Saturday night, the news media reported that

This board provides direction and support to MADD, the only group trying to stop these senseless deaths and injuries.  Continue reading

As a 5th year Presenting Sponsor and a Fort Worth injury lawyer who unfortunately sees many drunk and drugged driving crash cases, I support Mothers Against Drunk Driving in its fight to stop this deadly problem.MADD is the only organization that provides victim support, judicial and legislative reform, technology research, and education to curtail drunk and drugged driving.

The Walk Like MADD is its signature fund raiser, memorial, and rallying cry. The atmosphere is one of sadness, love, and hope.

I always leave feeling like we can make a difference and defeat the deadly drunk driving epidemic that has inflicted our roads in Texas. There is no reason that we should be the #1 state for the number of people who die from DWI crashes.

It’s not too late to form a team of family members, neighbors, or coworkers. And I will match the registration fee in a donation to MADD for anybody who lets me know he or she has signed up.

The walk takes place in the Botanic Garden down the street from my office Saturday morning at 8:30.

Learn more and register here.

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DWI collisions in North Texas have skyrocketed.

A two vehicle collision in south Dallas the other night resulted in one death and two DWI arrests. That’s right, not one but both drivers were drunk. My first reaction was are you kidding me?

But considering the out-of-control drunk driving statistics, it is not hard to believe that two intoxicated drivers would crash into each other.

The first drunk driver was speeding through an intersection in the Red Bird area when he slammed into a Buick making a left turn. The other intoxicated driver suffered minor injuries — of course — but his passenger tragically died. The speeding driver was charged with intoxicated manslaughter and three counts of intoxication assault, while the driver making the turn was charged with a simple DWI.

This sad story highlights how alcohol impairs judgment, reaction time and vision that affect the driver’s ability to effectively respond to a sudden situation, especially at night.

Too many families have experienced too high medical bills, painful injuries, lost wages, totalled vehicles and other damages because too many people drink too much and drive.

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I will be attending Mother Against Drunk Driving’s first annual seminar for personal injury attorneys this afternoon. This is designed to teach how we can more effectively represent injured people in drunk and drugged collision cases. It is being held at the national MADD headquarters in Las Colinas.

Some of the topics being discussed include

  • Investigating crash scenes and obtaining evidence
  • Working with law enforcement, prosecutors, and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
  • Evaluating and prosecuting a dram shop case (where a bar or restaurant over serves a customer)
  • Suing other responsible companies
  • Resolving evidentiary problems
  • Counseling victims and their families
  • Utilizing available resources

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In January a brother and sister were driving on the north side of Fort Worth when a young man ran a stop light and crashed into their car shown here. They went to the emergency room the next day and were diagnosed with strains and sprains of their necks and backs. They were then treated by a chiropractor.

My firm just resolved their claims for the full amounts of the drunk driver’s insurance policy of $60,000.00. I was going to file a lawsuit if the company continued to balk. We then slashed my clients’ medical bills, legal fees, and expenses and today they received $35,600.00.

Now we are proceeding to obtain additional funds from their underinsured motorists policy. I only wish that we could have proved a dram shop case against a bar or restaurant if we could have proved they had over served the drunk.

This is hardly the largest case we have handled in the past month but is discussed to show what a personal injury lawyer does on a daily basis — to get the maximum compensation for injured people.

The clients were pleased with our services. The young woman graciously wrote this five star review:

Mr.Berenson worked on my case and both me and my brother were pleased with the outcome. Thank you again Mr.Berenson for the outstanding job and we will definitely tell others about you.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign just in time for Labor Day.

The phrase sounds catchy, but what does it really mean?

The campaign, which runs from August 18 to September 4, focuses on law enforcement to end drunk driving accidents.

Labor Day weekend is notorious for excessive alcohol consumption. The increased threat of a DWI will dissuade at least some drinkers from driving.

Dallas and Fort Worth police departments will be on high alert. They may even set up roadblocks to randomly check drivers for intoxication. Even a very careful drunk driver — which is an oxymoron — risks a DWI.

And that tactic of not blowing? A no-refusal policy means judges are available to issue warrants to test suspected drunk drivers for blood alcohol content.

I wish these policies were employed every day in Dallas-Fort Worth. Intoxicated people might think twice with a greater chance of being arrested. Those who drove anyway could be stopped before they injured others. Continue reading

Police officers put their lives on the line every day. But usually driving is not the dangerous part of the job. However it seems nobody is safe from intoxicated drivers.

Early Sunday morning in Dallas, a 24 year-old man was so impaired by drugs that he crashed into a squad car — the last vehicle you would want to hit. Two police officers were injured and both received stitches for head wounds. The drugged driver was arrested and taken to jail.

A collision with a police officer is not a typical scenario, thank goodness, but drug driving accidents are extremely common these days. And with more people using both prescription and illegal drugs, this problem is just going to keep getting worse. Look at how wasted Tiger Woods was.

A study by the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 10 million people had driven on illicit drugs in the previous year. Think about that for a moment. These are just drivers who took illegal drugs before getting behind the wheel. Add to that staggering number all the people taking legal prescription drugs and drinking legal alcohol which can be even worse when you are driving a car or truck.

Of all fatal crashes involving drugs in 2010, 10 percent tested positive for cocaine, 37 percent for marijuana, and 47 percent for prescription medications.

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