A recent news report included a story about a father who was stopped for speeding. The man was traveling 100 miles per hour in a 65 mile an hour zone in Alpharetta, GA on GA-400. Unfortunately, the actual story turned out to be more frightening when it was discovered the man was traveling with three children, ages 7, 4 and 3 in the vehicle. The law enforcement officers discovered the children were not properly restrained in the vehicle and the driver, the father, was intoxicated.
An Ounce of Prevention Avoids Charges
Clearly this father was not being smart. Driving a car at excessive speed with children in the car is dangerous. When you combine speed with alcohol, the consequences can be even more deadly. Fortunately, the driver, his children and no one else on the road was injured. However, the father still faces serious charges including:
- DUI Child Endangerment – as per Georgia DUI statutes, the father will also be facing a separate DUI charge for each child in the vehicle. This means the father will be facing a minimum of four DUI charges; the basic charge plus one for each child. This means the father’s crime has now been elevated to a felony charge instead of a single misdemeanor.
- Reckless Endangerment – Georgia statutes define this charge as “Any person having the care or custody of a child under 16 years of age commits the offense of reckless endangerment of a child if such person knowingly endangers the child's health or welfare by violating a duty of care, protection, or support under the laws of this state”. The father is facing three charges of reckless endangerment.
- Speeding – clearly since law enforcement found the driver going 35 miles per hour over the speed limit he will be facing speeding charges. The driver may ultimately be facing charges under Georgia’s “Super Speeder Law” which could involve losing his license for four months and paying a special fee for reinstatement.
- Reckless Driving – these charges are determined by law enforcement officers at the time of the arrest. The simple definition is “reckless disregard of property or other people”. Driving under the influence and speeding are considered reckless.
- Child Safety Seat Violations – children under the age of eight must have appropriate restraints in a private vehicle depending on the child’s weight. The father showed disregard for these rules since none of the children were restrained at the time of the stop.
Sobering Drunk Driving and Speeding Stats
Georgia has no current available statistics regarding drunk driving and speeding. However, the latest statistics in 2013 show that 297 lives were lost due to drunk driving and an additional 197 lives were lost as a result of speeding. In 2012, three children under the age of four lost their lives due to being unrestrained and 365 children over the age of 5 lost their lives as a result of no restraints.
Other Possible Devastating Outcomes
Fortunately, the driver was not involved in an accident with another vehicle nor did he strike a pedestrian. However, if this had occurred he could have been facing additional charges up to and including first degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony offense which could have resulted in 3-15 years’ jail time. While fortunately none of this occurred, the potential was there all along.
When You’re Involved in an Accident
When someone is involved in a car accident, one of the most important things is to ensure you are safe immediately after the accident. Naturally, the accident should be reported to police and you should seek medical attention. Should you discover the other driver is drinking, you may have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit, particularly if you have serious or life-altering injuries. In these cases, it is imperative to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Contacting an Attorney Matters
Keep in mind, if you’re involved in a Georgia accident and believe you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, you’re bound to follow the statute of limitations. These statues limit how much time you have to file a lawsuit and the fact is these cases often require intensive investigation which take time. Without an attorney, insurance companies could take advantage and offer you a smaller settlement than you might otherwise be entitled to based on numerous factors including the severity of your injuries, time lost from work and more.
The Champion Firm, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia is a personal injury law firm. We provide our clients with aggressive representation when they have been injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence. Remember, every personal injury case is different and the last thing you want is an attorney who will treat your case like every other personal injury case. We understand your case is unique and will treat it individually. Call our offices to day at 404-596-8044 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.