Can I Be Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of a Prescription Drug?

It is common knowledge that getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol can increase the risk of a car accident. Alcohol affects coordination, judgment, and the ability to react quickly to emergency driving situations. However, alcohol and illegal drugs are not the only substances that can cause motorists to become impaired. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause drowsiness, nausea, and other side effects that can affect a motorist’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. What may come as a surprise is the fact that you can receive a DUI for driving while under the influence of a prescription medication. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact a skilled DUI lawyer at your earliest convenience.

What Are Georgia’s DUI Laws?

Georgia has strict laws against driving under the influence of drugs, or any substance that can cause impairments. According to Georgia DUI laws, motorists are prohibited from driving, or being in control of a vehicle if they meet any of the following circumstances:

  • They are under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree that makes it less safe for them to be operating a motor vehicle.
  • They are under the influence of an aerosol, glue, or other toxic vapor to an extent that they are impaired, making it less safe for them to drive.
  • They are under the influence of two or more controlled substances, including opiates, stimulants, or depressants, to an extent that it is less safe for the person to operate a motor vehicle.
  • The driver’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 BAC or more within three hours of getting behind the wheel.
  • There is a detectable amount of marijuana or controlled substance present in the person’s blood, urine, or both.

How Can Prescription Drugs Impact My Ability to Drive Safely?

Prescription medications are used to treat a wide range of health conditions from depression and anxiety to hypertension and diabetes. However, many of these drugs also have side effects that can impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, even when you take the medication as prescribed. When combined with even a small amount of alcohol, impairments are often more extreme, although this is not always the case. The following are examples of how certain prescription medications can affect your driving:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Inability to focus
  • Delayed reactions

How Do Georgia’s DUI Laws Apply to Prescription Medications?

If you are taking a prescription medication that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, you could be charged with a DUI. In addition, if you combine your prescription medication with even a small amount of alcohol, this can make you less safe as a driver.

Unfortunately, people do not always realize how their medications could impact their ability to drive, particularly if they are taking a combination of medications that could cause a range of side effects. In addition, motorists often assume that if they have a valid prescription for the prescription drugs they are taking, they will not face any legal consequences if they are facing a possible DUI charge, but that is not the case. If the prescription medication makes you a more dangerous driver, you could be charged with a DUI and face the same consequences as if you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Charge?

If you have been charged with a DUI, the penalties are severe, even if the DUI charge involves a prescription drug. For example, Georgia DUI laws call for mandatory jail time, even if it is your first offense. If convicted, you may also face the following:

  • Alcohol and drug testing
  • Fees and costs
  • License restrictions
  • Mandatory DUI classes
  • Probation

When Can Prescription Medication Be Used as a Defense Strategy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 50 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription medication, and over 23 percent take three or more. Too often, drivers have no idea that they could face DUI charges for taking a prescription medication. However, if a law enforcement officer believes that your driving is impaired, they may first ask whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Next, they will ask whether you are taking any prescription medications. If the officer feels it is warranted, they may arrest you and request that you submit to a blood test. If it comes back positive for medication, the state may proceed with a DUI prosecution against you.

While simply stating that you have a valid prescription from a doctor is not a viable defense, it is important to understand that when the police officer charged you with a DUI, they had to make a judgment call regarding your level of impairment and if it meets the “less safe” requirement. Oftentimes, officers are wrong, or are too quick to charge a driver with a DUI when the driver is not actually impaired. When testifying in court, police officers are often unable to provide specific evidence about what effect the drug had on your ability to drive. In addition, when police conduct DUI stops, they often use the same sobriety tests for prescription medications as they do for alcohol. However, you may have an underlying condition that causes some of the same cues as being intoxicated, even if it has no impact on your ability to drive safely. Field sobriety tests are not approved by the courts to support a prescription drug DUI charge.

If a police officer orders you to provide a blood or urine sample for drug testing, keep in mind that prescription drugs are often detected even when you are no longer under the influence of that medication. For example, if you took an Ambien pill to help you sleep, and you get pulled over the next day, the medication will still be in your system even though you are no longer under the influence, or unsafe to drive. An experienced DUI lawyer will review your case, determine whether prosecutors are relying on inaccurate information, and develop an effective defense strategy aimed at reducing the charges or getting your case dismissed.

What Other Defense Strategies Are Used in DUI Cases?

Every DUI case is unique, and there is no single strategy that will be effective for every case, particularly when the case involves prescription medication. However, the following are examples of some of the best defenses the DUI lawyers often use:

  • The officer did not have a valid reason to initiate a DUI stop.
  • The field sobriety test was not issued according to procedure.
  • The driver was not properly advised about their implied consent rights about chemical testing.
  • The drug levels in a blood or urine test were within the therapeutic range.
  • The officer did not advise you of your Miranda rights prior to questioning.
  • Your blood sample was mixed up with another person’s sample.
  • The officer was not properly trained to make prescription drug DUI arrests.

How Can I Avoid a Prescription Drug DUI Charge?

If you are taking any type of medication, whether it is prescription or over the counter, it is important that you understand the effects that the drug can have on your body.

  • Read the label to see whether it should be taken with or without food, if it causes drowsiness or other side effects, and if it warns against driving or operating any type of machinery while taking the drug.
  • Speak to your doctor about your prescription, including possible side effects, and whether it will interact with any other drug you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and even vitamins and supplements.
  • Any time your physician starts you on a new course of treatment or increases the dose of a drug you are taking, ask them whether it is safe to drive while taking this drug.

Ask whether it will cause any of the following impairments:

  • Impaired coordination or balance
  • Slower reflexes
  • Drowsiness
  • Cognitive and decision-making impairments
  • Heightened anxiety or other mood-related issues
  • Medication makes it easier to become intoxicated

Savannah DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Motorists Who Have Been Charged with a DUI

If you have been charged with a prescription drug DUI, you are strongly urged to contact the Savannah DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. We have a proven track record of developing effective defense strategies that protect our clients’ legal rights and avoid steep fines, license suspensions and jail time. Our skilled legal team will thoroughly review your case, address your questions and concerns, and recommend the best legal course of action. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. From our offices located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve all clients of Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

How to Travel Safely with a Pet?

If you are like most families, your dog or cat or other pet is treated like a member of the family. Pets give us love and comfort and fun. Families with children often have dogs and cats to teach their children compassion and responsibility. The children love their pets and experience unconditional love from them. They learn to be responsible for them by walking their pets, feeding them, and taking care of them.

That is why it is so important to consider our pets’ safety when traveling with them. Because car accidents happen all the time, you never know when it is going to happen to you. No matter how safe we are and no matter how much of a defensive driver we are, there is still a chance of a negligent driver causing a crash. That is why we must do things to protect our pets when we travel with them. After all, you would not put your child in the car without a car seat, right? In the same manner, it is also prudent to secure your pets when travelling – for your safety and theirs.  

10 Tips to Keep Our Pets Safe When They Ride with Us in the Car

Many of these tips can be used for any kind of pet, but it is geared mostly for dogs and cats. Most people will not take their beloved family goldfish to run errands with them. So, these tips are not geared to family pets like that. Here are 7 tips that you can consider using to keep your pet safe when they travel for you in a vehicle:

1. Dogs and Cats Should Not Roam In The Vehicle

One way to keep your pets safe while in the car with you is to not let them roam around the vehicle. They should be confined somehow, ideally in a crate that’s fastened. The point is that if they are roaming around the inside of the vehicle and you are hit by another driver in an accident, your pet could be seriously injured. The crash will throw them around inside the car, but if they are secured inside a crate which is itself tied down somehow, this will not happen.

2. Pets Should Not Be in The Front Seat

The back seat is generally thought of as the safest place in the vehicle. If a dog or cat is contained in a carrier, use the back seat seatbelts to fasten them in. It will provide the most protection from either a front-end collision or a rear end collision. Also, if they are in the front passenger seat during a crash, your pet may be seriously injured or even killed by the airbag engaging. Those airbags are designed to protect humans, not pets.

3. Keep Dogs’ Heads Inside the Car

This is going to be a tough one to follow, given dogs’ joy of sticking their heads out the car window and enjoying the breezes in the face, but there is risk of injury if you allow your dog to do this. If your dog’s head is sticking out of the car window then there is a risk that they might be hit by something, either debris being kicked up by your tires or even another car that accidentally drove too close to you. This also goes for a related issue of allowing your dogs to travel in the back of a truck, in the truck bed. This is extremely dangerous for your dog if you get into an accident. There is nothing that can protect your dog who is riding in the truck bed. If you get into an accident, your dog could easily be thrown out of the truck and land dozens of feet away.

4. Make Several Stops on Long Trips

Do not forget to make several pit stops for your pet during long trips. This will help you, the driver, continue to stay alert and awake and to stretch your legs, but your dog as well. Make their ride more comfortable by giving them bathroom breaks and let them stretch their legs. Make sure that your pet is always on a leash, has a collar with a tag on it with contact information, just in case your dog gets loose.

5. Do Not Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car

There are news stories all the time of people leaving their pets in their vehicles on hot days. Usually, it is on the news because someone smashed out a window to save the pet. On days when it is hot out, just leave your pet at home if you cannot take them inside the store with you. The problem is that on merely mildly hot days, even with the windows partially rolled down, it can become too hot for pets. Even on a mild, 75-degree day, it can take only 10 minutes for the inside of a car to get to 104 degrees, putting your pet at risk. Dogs can only regulate their internal heat by mostly panting. If it gets too hot inside the vehicle too quickly, it could kill your pet.

6. Pets Can Get Car Sick

Dogs can get car sick just like humans do. One way to help them go through long trips in the car is to feed them a few hours before you begin the trip. Having a full belly will help prevent car sickness and having an accident inside your vehicle.

7. Take Test Trips Before a Long Trip

If your pet is not used to traveling long distances in a vehicle, take them on several shorter trips with you. This will allow them to associate your vehicle with something positive and they will be more comfortable spending long periods of time in the car. Ultimately, you want your pet to be relaxed enough that they can nap just like they do most of the day while at home.

8. Bring Enough Water for Your Pet to Drink

Pet owners often forget about bringing water for their pet to drink during a long trip. Not only is the water important remember but also remember to pack a bowl or something for them to drink out of. This brings up a related topic of packing a travel bag specifically for your pet. When you go on a trip, you will pack some luggage for yourself. You pack a bag for your pet as well. Your pet’s travel bag should include food, toys, extra leash, pick-up bags for their bathroom trips, grooming supplies, medication, water, and bowls to drink and eat out of. When your pet has the things that they are used to, they will feel more comfortable and relaxed with familiar items around them.

9. Microchip Your Pet

If you have not done so already, make sure to have your pet microchipped. This will help significantly if your pet gets loose in an area that they are not used to. It will help you recover your lost loved one and family member.

10. Bring Your Pet’s Vaccination Records

If you are traveling across state lines, it might be a good idea to bring your pet’s vaccination records just in case you need to prove that they are currently vaccinated.

The Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Can Answer Your Car Accident Questions

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a car crash, you may have a lot of questions about what should be done and what to do first. The Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law have decades of experience in helping those seriously injured by other driver’s negligence. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County.

Do Drunk Driving Accidents Increase in the Summer Months?

The summer is fully underway, with many of us spending time with families and friends enjoying vacations, travelling to the beach, graduation parties, or other fun celebrations. With all the free time and excitement, it is not uncommon for people to relax with drink, but there are those that are irresponsible and partake in drunk driving, making the summer season the most dangerous time of year with driving under the influence (DUI) car accidents.

The summer has some of the most celebrated and popular holidays: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. With millions of travelers packing the roads during these holidays and the weeks leading up, the chances of getting into a car accident is already increased. Combining that with alcohol consumption, it is no wonder that the summer season is so dangerous with drunk drivers. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes during the months of May, June, and July than any other time of the year. Additionally:

  • The NHTSA found that the number of drunk driving accidents double during the summer months compared to all other months combined.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there is an average of 29 deaths in drunk driving accidents per day, or one death every 50 minutes.
  • The three of the five most dangerous holidays involving DUI fatalities are in the summer. The five holidays are: New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. On Independence Day, you have a 78 percent higher-than-average risk to be killed in a drunk driving accident. For Labor Day and Memorial Day, you have a 54 percent and 50 percent higher-than-average risk, respectively.
  • The deadliest days of the week for DUI-related accidents occur on Saturday and Sunday, with Tuesday being the least dangerous. Almost 25 percent of weekly DUI accidents occur on Saturday, while Sunday sees 21.5 percent of DUI accidents. Sunday is second to Saturday, mainly because DUI accidents happen more frequently between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.
  • The projected most dangerous week of 2022 is Independence Day week, where DUI accidents are expected to increase. The second most dangerous week of 2022 is projected to start on August 8th, with the third being the week before starting August 1st. This is because these are the weeks when summer travel is expected to be at its highest.
  • The NHTSA found that about 27 percent of drunk drivers are between the ages of 21 and 24, while males are more likely to drive drunk compared to females.
  • The months of June, July and August are also considered the most dangerous for teenage drivers, not only because of their inexperience behind the wheel, but because they also engage in underage drinking.

Protecting Yourself from Drunk Drivers

In order to protect yourself from drunk drivers, it may be helpful to understand what happens to the body when consuming alcohol, as well as recognizing who may be under the influence. Alcohol impairs judgement and can cause hazardous behavior behind the wheel. Even one drink can impair someone’s ability to drive, particularly their ability to multitask and stay focused. It can also reduce the ability to track moving objects or can lead to visual impairment. Alcohol consumption can also cause:

  • Decreased muscle control
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Slower thinking
  • Slurred speech

If you plan on travelling during the summer, here are a few tips to help protect yourself and your family from drunk drivers:

  • Wear your seat belt: Always wear your seat belt, even on short trips. Seat belts have repeatedly been proven to save lives in a crash, and is the best defense in any car accident, not just DUI-related accidents. Make sure that children are in their properly fitted car seat and that they are restrained fully. You and everyone else in your vehicle should be wearing their seatbelts no matter what.
  • Defensive driving: Defensive driving helps keep you and others safe, particularly if you suspect a driver nearby you is drunk. Keep your distance from their vehicle especially if they are swerving, and if they are driving aggressively, move to the right lane and let them pass you. If you notice a vehicle heading towards you, pull to the right and stop, honk your horn, and flash your lights to alert them.
  • Avoid driving at night: The majority of DUI-related accidents, as well as fatal crashes, happen at night, particularly between the hours of midnight and three a.m. With lower visibility, it is already difficult to drive safely at night, and with drunk drivers lurking about, the chances of an accident increase. Stay home at night whenever possible.
  • Be alert: Another aspect of defensive driving is being alert and trying to anticipate the moves of other drivers. Be extra cautious in areas where a drunk driver could make a mistake, such as at a stop sign or an intersection. Before crossing an intersection, make sure the way is clear even if you have the green, and if you do see someone approaching, be sure that they come to a stop before crossing.
  • Plan ahead: If you do decide to go out and have a few drinks, please do so responsibly and plan your way home ahead of time. Have a designated driver who is not drinking ready to go or use a taxi or a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft to get you home safely. Never assume someone who had even one drink is sober enough to drive home.
  • No distractions: Driving without distractions keeps you safe and your eyes on the road, especially at night when your attention needs to be on safety. Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and is a leading cause of car accidents in the country. Put your phone away and always keep your attention on the road.

Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers

There is a myriad of injuries that a drunk driver can cause, some permanently disabling or even deadly. The most common DUI-related injuries include:

  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Burns
  • Crushing injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Death
  • Internal organ damage
  • Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

If you have been in an accident involving a drunk driver, then it is likely that you have suffered any one of these injuries or more. You may be able to seek financial compensation by filing a lawsuit, which could cover:

  • Disability, disfigurement, or scarring
  • Lost wages and ability to earn income
  • Medical expenses, hospitalization, and treatments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Wrongful death

DUI Penalties in Georgia

There are many penalties you would face in the state of Georgia if you were charged with a DUI-related offense. Not only are they monetarily, but they could also be lifelong, especially if a drunk driving accident severely injured someone or took a life. Some potential penalties for a first DUI charge include:

  • One year probation
  • A minimum fine of up to $300, plus court costs
  • Between one to ten days in jail
  • 40 hours of community service
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Driver’s license suspension

A second or third DUI charge in Georgia can mean up to 36 months of probation, up to five years of driver’s license suspension, up to 12 months in jail, and other substantial penalties. Four-time DUI offenders face more severe penalties, such as felony charges, 10 years of suspended license, up to five years in prison, and more.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Drunk Driving Victims Receive Compensation for their Damages

If you have been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to further compensation. Contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law today. Call us today at 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve all clients of Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

What Are Safety Tips for Long Road Trips?

If you are planning a long road trip, whether for business or pleasure, safety is a priority. Unfortunately, few people seldom ever plan for the worst, especially vacationers. With a relaxing, fun vacation on the mind, preparing for or exercising driving safety protocols is usually last on the list of priorities for most people.

Driving is a serious business, and taking long road trips can test exactly how serious a driver handles the responsibility of safety. There are many dangers that present themselves when taking to the road during an elongated driving excursion. These dangers can range from a poorly maintained vehicle to a sleep-deprived driver.

Every year, over 30,000 people die from motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 38,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the leading cause of death for people up to 54 years old is motor vehicle accidents.  

People spend a good deal of time making plans for their vacation or business trip in order to assure a fruitful or fun time once they arrive at their destination. If the same attention and caution were paid to the trip itself, the chances of experiencing a catastrophe on the road would be reduced, and the trip might become the relaxing trip you hoped it would be.  

How Should You Prepare Your Vehicle for a Long Road Trip?

After your reservations and planned activities are squared away, get busy assuring the safety and comfortability of you and your passengers. Taking a long road trip is difficult enough in terms of boredom, the lack of comfortability, and sheer exhaustion; but not taking the right steps to prepare for a trip could turn an already difficult situation into a nightmare.

The first thing you should do is pay attention to your vehicle. Your vehicle might not actually be old, but that does not mean that it is beyond maintenance. Whether your vehicle is young or old, a long road trip has a way of finding your vehicle’s faults and near-faults, so head off any potential threats and check your vehicle thoroughly.

It is best to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic before takeoff, but if you want to do it yourself, you should check your vehicle from front to back. Make sure that the brakes feel right while you are driving your vehicle. If the brakes squeal or do not respond correctly, they are not going to improve on a long trip; take your vehicle to a mechanic and get them checked out.

Steering is sometimes overlooked. When the steering feels slightly irregular, some people simply pass it off as the way their particular vehicle drives. An experienced driver knows what good steering should feel like. If the steering is off, there could be a problem.

Tires are critically important. Old, worn tires could cause a blowout, and that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Make sure your tires are in tiptop condition before taking off. You should also check the air pressure on each of your tires to assure that they are balanced, and that they measure up to the specified air pressure according to the manufacturer.

You should always check the fluids, oil, belts, wipers, caps, hoses, and filters. Make sure the signals and lights are in good working order as well. Basically, anything and everything you can think of, check it.  

What Intangibles Should You Address Before Your Trip?

It is important to make sure that you are familiar with the route you are taking. Relying on a GPS can bring too many surprises, and with that can be confusion, frustration, and bad decision-making. Get familiar with which highways and exits you should be taking.

Plan your rest stops. This is important because it will help you to avoid going too long without a needed stop. Knowing where the stops are along the way allows you to stay organized with your fill-ups, bathroom visits, food breaks, and much-needed rest.

Perhaps the most important way to prepare for your trip is to make sure you get sleep. With all the preparations and last-minute packing, it is easy to put off getting rest. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents.

A recent study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that drivers who miss one to two hours of required sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Sleep deprivation slows down a driver’s reaction to stimuli, having an effect similar to alcohol. This means that your reaction time when lacking sleep is poor.

It is critical that you stay alert, so getting enough sleep before getting behind the wheel is a must. Also, for those fun vacations, do not get ahead of the game: driving under the influence is deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 32 Americans die each day in a drunk driving-related motor vehicle accident. Thus, waiting till you arrive at your fun spot is best.

What Items Should You Bring with You on Your Trip?

Make sure to stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water and other fluids. Also make sure to bring healthy snacks. Store your food and beverages appropriately; some might need to be in a cooler.

Consider any medical needs that you or your passengers might need. This includes any medication or foods that someone might need along the way. Pack sunscreen, sun glasses, and brimmed hats in case you end up stuck on the side of the road and have to abandon your vehicle, or if you decide to stop somewhere along the way and take in some sun.

Keep a spare tire or even two, extra coolant, and a few cans of motor oil. Bring a first-aid kit. Having to find a place that has simple, much-need medical supplies could be extremely difficult. Think things through ahead of time. You do not want to forget to bring baby formula, for instance. Pack some personal hygiene items that you will have easy access to.

It is important to bring a flashlight, road flares, and reflectors. Be prepared for bad weather as well; bring rain gear. Do not forget to bring jumper cables. A good Samaritan might not have a set. It is also a good idea to carry a tool kit for that unexpected mechanical problem.

One of the most important items to check is your cell phone. Make sure it works, and be certain that your service allows for a good range, if not you might want to upgrade. Also bring a working phone charger, and make sure that your vehicle has a working input for the charger. For that overnight stay in your vehicle, bring blankets and pillows; you never know what will happen.

What Should You Pay Attention to While Driving? 

Maintain good posture. This will help you prevent having backaches and will keep the blood flowing. Watch for any drivers who might be driving erratically. Obey the speed limit, and watch out for all road signs. These are things that are in place for a reason and could help keep you safe.

Defensive driving is best. Do not tailgate or swerve in and out of traffic. It is better to get there late than not at all. Most importantly, get off at the nearest stop or rest area if you are tired. If you are struggling to keep your eyes open, or if you are having trouble staying in your lane, it is time to either get off the road or switch drivers.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Those Involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents.  

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, our experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law will fight hard to bring you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

What If I Get Into a Car Accident While on Vacation?

Summer officially starts on June 22nd, but once Memorial Day weekend hits and the warmer weather is here to stay, people start taking their much-needed summer vacations. Over 80 percent of Americans are planning to travel this summer, with road trips being the most popular form of transportation. Whether you are traveling far away or staying relatively close to home, getting into a car accident while you are on vacation can put a damper on your plans, especially if the accident caused serious injuries. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a car accident during the busy summer months. However, if you are injured in a car accident while you are on vacation, do not hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who will assist you with the claims process and secure the financial compensation you deserve.

What Steps Should I Take If I Am In a Car Accident?

No matter how much planning and preparing you do to get ready for your vacation, car accidents can happen when you least expect it. When you are involved in a car accident while on vacation, your trip that was supposed to be a fun and relaxing getaway suddenly becomes a high-stress situation. While you cannot turn back time, you can take steps that will make the situation as stress-free as possible, including the following:

  • Remain calm. Take a moment to assess the situation and check on the rest of the passengers in the vehicle. Panicking will only make the situation worse.
  • Call 911. Report the accident as soon as possible so that that dispatch can send a police officer to the scene of the accident. If there are injuries, notify dispatch so that he or she can send an ambulance as well. The officer who arrives at the scene will fill out a police report, which will include information about the accident. In some cases, it may include information about who is responsible for causing the accident.
  • Exchange information. It is also important that you exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license number, license plate number, contact information and insurance information. Do not apologize for the accident, even if you are trying to be nice: this could be interpreted as an admission of fault, and may be used against you during the claims process.
  • Collect evidence. Document the scene of the accident by taking pictures of the damage to the vehicle, your injuries, debris on the road, the weather conditions and anything else that help determine the cause of the accident and who is at fault.
  • Talk to witnesses. If there were witnesses who saw the accident happen, ask if they would be willing to provide a statement and ask for their contact information.
  • Call the car rental company. If you were driving a rental car at the time of the accident, notify the rental company that you were involved in a car accident so that they can discuss your insurance options with you. They may also be able to assist you with next steps and provide you with a replacement rental vehicle for the remainder of your vacation. Make sure that you keep all rental receipts and transportation tickets. You will need to provide these documents if you file a claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
  • Notify your insurance company. You will need to notify your insurance company that you were involved in a car accident. Keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of making money, so they will look for reasons to avoid paying a costly settlement.
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer. You are strongly urged to contact a car accident lawyer any time you are involved in a car accident. However, when the accident occurs while you are on vacation, the situation may be more complicated if the accident occurred in a different state. Laws vary from state to state, and a skilled car accident lawyer will have a thorough understanding of the laws that apply to that state. He or she will conduct a thorough investigation and assist you with every step of the claims process.

How Do I Prove That the Other Driver was Negligent?

If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by another motorist, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. In order to prove that the driver was negligent, in an injury claim, you must be able to prove the following:

  • You were owed a duty of care. All motorists have a duty to obey the rules of the road and avoid unsafe driving behaviors that could cause an accident.
  • The negligent party breached that duty of care. You must be able to prove that the accident would not have happened if the other driver had breached his or her duty of care. Examples of common breaches of care include distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving and aggressive driving.
  • The breach of care resulted in the injury. You must also be able to prove that the negligent party’s actions directly caused your injuries and property damage.
  • The injury resulted in financial damages. Finally, you must be able to prove that the financial losses are directly related to the car accident. This may include the costs associated with your injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle.
  • You were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Georgia is a comparative negligence state, which means that you are only eligible to recover damages if you were less than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident. If you are found to be more than 50 percent liable, you will not be eligible for compensation. In addition, if you were found to be 20 percent liable, your settlement amount will be reduced by that percentage.

How Can I Avoid Getting into a Car Accident While on Vacation?

Even if you avoid unsafe driving behaviors whenever you are behind the wheel, you cannot control how other motorists drive, or the decisions that they make when they are driving. However, you can take the following proactive steps, which can help reduce the risk of a serious car accident:

  • Avoid distractions. Distracted driving continues to be a major cause of serious car accidents. During the summer, there are more inexperienced teen drivers on the roads who are more likely to talk or text on their phones while they are driving. Other examples of common distractions include reaching for items in the back seat, adjusting the GPS or the radio, eating, or interacting with other passengers in the car. According to USA Today, sending or reading a text while driving increases the risk of a car accident by 23 times.
  • Stay awake and alert. Drowsy driving is another common cause of car accidents. In fact, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, missing up to two hours of sleep can double the risk of a car accident. If you get less than four hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, you will be 11.5 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. If you start to feel drowsy, swap driving responsibilities with another licensed driver, or pull over to a safe spot and get some fresh air or take a short nap.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Before hitting the road for a summer vacation, make sure that your vehicle is inspected by a skilled mechanic who can check the brakes, the engine, tires, the steering and make sure that all of the necessary fluids are topped off.
  • Be prepared with an emergency kit. When taking a road trip, it is highly recommended that you keep a well-stocked emergency kit in the vehicle at all times. If you are in an accident, or the vehicle breaks down, you will be able to stay safe, hydrated and fed until help arrives. An emergency kit should include the following items:
  • Bottled water
  • Car jack and lug wrench
  • Emergency flares or reflective cones
  • Extra phone charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables and a portable battery charger
  • Maps
  • Non-perishable food items, including granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter, dried fruit
  • Small tool kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Tire sealant

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Car Accident Victims Injured While on Vacation

If you were seriously injured in a car accident while you were on vacation, contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident, and whether the other motorist was negligent in some way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Our office is located in Springfield, Georgia where we serve clients from Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Do Teen Car Accidents Increase Over the Summer?

Summertime fun is what the vast majority of Americans look forward to each year. Vacations, family barbeques, and an increase in late-night activities are all part of the summertime landscape. Unfortunately, many teenage drivers are not equipped to handle it. For too many teenage drivers, the summer is the deadliest time of year. 

For teenage drivers, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have become known as the ‘100 deadliest days of summer.’ The CDC reported that in 2019, almost 2,400 teenage drivers suffered fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the rate of fatalities among teenage drivers increases by more than 25 percent during the so-called 100 days.  

The reasons for the jump in teenage motor vehicle accidents during the summer is simple: too much leisure time combined with a desire to take risks presents an ominous possibility of road-going deaths.

Why Do Teenagers Take Risks While Driving?

Statistics point out that teenage drivers suffer a greater percentage of fatalities behind the wheel of a car than any other group. The American Automobile Association (AAA) reported in 2019 that over a five-year period during the 100 deadliest days, teenager-involved motor vehicle accidents produced an average death rate 17 percent higher than any other time of the year.

More specifically, in a report by the CDC, male drivers between 16-19 years of age had a death rate more than two times higher than that of female drivers in 2019. Driving is a serious business. Immaturity, inexperience, a lack of skills, a sense of freedom, and a live-forever mindset are a bad combination and the reason for such carelessness when driving.

Teenagers taking to the road pose a great risk to themselves and other drivers. The NHTSA reported that in 2019, over 2,000 people were killed in accidents involving a teenage driver between the ages of 15-18. Teenagers do not consider the consequences of their actions the same as most adults. The majority of teenagers are not considering the concept of mortality when behind the wheel.

What Are the Causes of Teenage Motor Vehicle Accidents?

There are copious reasons why teenagers crash cars: speeding, according to AAA, accounted for 28 percent of teenage-driving fatalities over a five-year period. 50 percent of teenagers interviewed in another AAA report admitted to speeding in a residential street in their last 30 days of driving, and almost 40 percent admitted to speeding on a highway in the same time frame. 

Most young drivers have not yet developed a solid skillset behind the wheel, not to mention an awareness of when to slow down. Hazardous conditions on the road, such as bad weather and road construction, call for a slower speed, but teenagers do not always account for changes in conditions.  

Driving too fast around curves, in heavy traffic, or on residential streets are too often the norm when it comes to teenage drivers, who are simply not equipped to react due to a lack of experience and a lack of understanding.  

Driving under the influence is frequent and ubiquitous among teenage drivers, especially during the summer. A lack of school responsibilities compounded by income from part-time jobs results in new freedom without the developed risk-assessing parts of the brain. Sometimes having to work the next day bears no weight for many teenagers: they drink anyway.

An interesting account by the CDC is that teenagers who have the same blood-alcohol level as older drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash. The CDC also reported that in 2019, 24 percent of drivers between the ages of 15-20 who died in motor vehicle accidents had been drinking.

Another problem is that not many teenagers want to admit to their parents that they have been drinking. Calling for a ride or having a friend drive home, therefore, is less likely to happen compared to an older, more responsible person.  

Distracted driving is an enormous problem for teenagers. Taking driving seriously often falls to the waist side when teenagers have been driving for more than a few minutes. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accounted for more than 31,000 fatalities in 2020. This is eye-opening when considering that teenagers are the most likely to be distracted while driving.

Texting and other cell phone usages are ubiquitous problems among all ages when driving, but a failure to consider possible consequences prevents many teenagers from keeping away from a cell phone. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can cause a serious accident.  

A huge problem for teenage drivers is driving with peers. The NHTSA analyzed a study in which teenage drivers were 250 percent more likely to execute a risky behavior when accompanied by one peer. In the same study, the NHTSA reported that the chance of a teenage driver to execute a risky behavior increased to 300 percent when accompanied by more than one peer.  

What Can You Do to Help Prevent Teenage Car Accidents?

As per a report by the CDC, graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems are in existence throughout the country. Although policies vary from state to state, the GDL systems demand longer practice time, limit driving when high-risk driving conditions exist, and require parent participation. According to the CDC, research shows that GDL systems are linked to a reduction of roughly 21 percent for driving fatalities for teenage drives 16 years of age.

  • Learn about your state’s driving laws and process for new drivers. Make sure to properly explain them to your teen, and make sure that your teen follows them to the letter.
  • The summertime is an especially difficult time because of the free time away from school that teenagers have. Therefore, begin with basic rules that will help eliminate problems when your teenager takes to the road, and do not compromise under any circumstance.
  • Remember that a law to not exceed a specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is set for drivers 21 or older, not for those under 21. It is imperative that you make your teenager understand that under no circumstance is it okay to drive when drinking alcohol. Also make sure your teenager understands that drinking under the age of 21 is not acceptable at all and is illegal.
  • Limit the times when your teenager takes the car. It could be life-saving. Driving at night requires a different skill set. Driving along dark streets and roads takes longer to get used to than any driving during the day. The same goes for bad weather conditions. Knowing that you need to keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you in rainy or icy conditions can save a life.  
  • Be a good role model when you drive, especially as the time for your teenager to drive approaches. You should talk to your teen as you drive, making sure to turn the experience into a learned one. More importantly, make sure to give your teen plenty of practice time with you in the passenger seat.
  • Lay down rules and consequences. If you state that the car is not to be taken out after a certain time of day, you have to be willing to enforce it. Rules broken need to have consequences. A teenager cannot learn when there are no consequences to face.
  • Talk to your teen about distracted driving. Teenagers will be teenagers, but driving requires more experience and maturity than most teenagers can acquire in a limited amount of time. You should, therefore, set strict rules to eliminate cell phone usage, drinking and eating, and other behaviors that may distract your teen from keeping both eyes on the road.
  • States have specific rules for teenage drivers regarding driving with peers. Make sure you know them, but set your own rules as well. In every regard, make sure you monitor the progress of your teen. If need be, hold your teen back from enjoying more driving privileges. Moreover, if your teen is not ready to drive at all, hold back the process of obtaining a license.

Over all, having talks, making rules, and creating consequences for your new teen driver can help tremendously. Remember most of all that driving is not a right; it is a privilege. Keep your teenager driver and other drivers on the road safe from harm: be involved. 

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Those Injured in Car Accidents Caused by Teenage Drivers.

If you have been injured by a teenage driver, or you are the parent of a teenage driver involved in a car accident, our experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law will fight hard to make sure you receive the best possible outcome. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County.

Will the 5G Switchover Affect Car Safety?

Many recently and currently produced vehicles have onboard systems that automatically notify first-responders with an accident occurs. Most of those systems used 3G networks to connect to cloud-based communications.

With the recent switch to 5G, systems that used 3G no longer will work when 3G systems are replaced by 5G systems. They cannot communicate over 5G and would require hardware and software upgrades to become compatible.

Or you simply have to go without the potentially life-saving service that could notify emergency personnel if you are in an accident and incapable of calling for help. Many who no longer subscribe

Some overseas airlines grounded their aircraft as a precaution when 5G went live. They were concerned about how the new cloud communications technology would affect aircraft safety. Turns out, there is no real issue with its impact on airplanes.

Your vehicle may be another matter. Newer car models have safety equipment that uses 3G communications technology. The switchover to 5G has many motorists understandably concerned about the possible impact on their safety, which is a legitimate concern. Odds are your vehicle will run and drive just fine. But you could lose your emergency notification system and other features.  

An Updated Telematics Control Unit Solves the Problem

Most emergency notification services use a telematics control unit (TCU). Prior TCUs relied on 3G to enable them to communicate outside of the vehicle. But with 5G, that has changed.

So many automakers have offered an upgrade to their TCUs prior to the launch of the 5G system. The upgrades mostly were free and generally were available through February 2022.

But with 5G now in use, the upgrades no longer are free. The cost for a new TCU is about $900. And that cost is stopping many car owners from updating their onboard systems.

Going without the new TCU means your vehicle’s crash-notification system might not work. But if you carry a cellphone, that might not be a concern.  

Popular Telematics Systems

Virtually all major automakers include telematics systems in their vehicles. General Motors uses OnStar, which is among the first and most popular telematics systems. Toyota provides its T-Connect system. Mercedes-Benz includes the Tele Aid system in its luxury cars.

There also are commercial versions, like Ford Telematics, that enable commercial operators to track and communicate with their commercial fleets of vehicles. The Ford 911 Assist goes into private passenger vehicles to automatically report accidents when they happen.

Telematics systems have grown as technology has improved. But like all technologies, they eventually become obsolete. And the 5G rollout is putting an end to the 3G-based systems.

Potential Impact of 5G Changeover on Crash-Notification Systems

The systems that mostly are at-risk are those that provide crash notifications and contact emergency services via E911. Whether or not your system is at-risk depends on which brand of vehicle you are driving.

Honda recently provided owners of its models with free upgrades for their systems through Feb. 22, 2022. With that date now passed, it will cost about $900 to upgrade the hardware needed to communicate with 5G systems.

Those who do not upgrade their systems could lose some safety features. But their vehicles will run and drive normally.

You might find yourself in an accident with your car’s emergency notification system no longer working due to the 5G system change. You would need to use your cellphone to call for help.

The 5G Switch Will Not Affect Several Automakers

Owners of Mazda, Ford, and Mitsubishi models are unaffected. The emergency notification systems used in Ford and Mazda models connect to the driver’s cellular phone to send emergency notifications.

Mitsubishi never used a 3G system and instead designed its systems to run without it. That is because Mitsubishi engineers foresaw the potential for changes in cloud-based communications changing rapidly and rendering the systems useless. Mitsubishi vehicles do not use 3G or 5G for emergency communications.

Other automakers certainly have the same technologies in place that make the change to 5G a non-issue for owners of their respective vehicles. But many of the biggest automakers produced vehicles that will be affected.

The world’s largest automaker, Toyota, and its subsidiary Lexus are good examples. Toyota’s Safety Connection emergency notification system and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect will cease working on Nov. 1, 2022.

Owners of those vehicles will lose all automatic crash-notification services and other features. Toyota officials said circumstances that are beyond the automaker’s control created the problem and they are sorry for any inconvenience.

Safety Systems Remain Unaffected

It is important to emphasize that vehicle safety systems will continue to operate as designed. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, and other popular and effective safety technologies will continue to work properly.

Those systems do not rely on 3G or other cloud communications to function. As long as your vehicle is running, it will work. It always is possible some other factor could cause them to fail, but it will not be the switch to 5G that causes it to happen.

Unless a sensor goes bad or the equipment is damaged, you should retain all of your active and passive safety features. You might want to carry a cellphone in your vehicle to call for help if you are in a bad accident, though. The loss of the emergency notification systems might make that necessary.

It is safe to say a majority of motorists keep their cellphones with them. So having it in an easily accessible location while driving could provide you with the emergency communications needed to obtain help after a bad accident. Your car just will not do it for you: that only is the case if the automaker has no plans to upgrade your system or if you decide that you do not want to pay nearly $1,000 to ensure the emergency crash notifications continue to work as intended.

Many Carmakers Intend to Upgrade Systems

Some automakers already initiated technology upgrades for their customers that included new hardware and programming. Others are still planning to make the change before November 2022, when 5G systems should have fully replaced the 3G systems that previously handled the majority of cloud-based communications.

You might be determined to keep your crash and emergency notification apps working. You can, with an about $900 investment in new hardware and programming, which will upgrade the current 3G system to regain cloud connectivity.

Some carmakers included the ability to upgrade their emergency communications systems as needed. Those systems will not need the new hardware but should need to upgrade the apps that handle the communications. That helps to keep them compatible with ever-changing communications technologies.

A free upgrade might be available if you have a vehicle that is incompatible with 5G technology. Check with your local dealership to learn more.

Changeover Should Not Increase Driving Risks

The rollover to 5G and the potential loss of emergency communication technology should not make it more dangerous to drive. Many people drive vehicles that do not use telematics (a technology only widely implemented during the past 20 years.) Many new models do not include telematics, and lots of drivers decline the telematic services if they have to pay a subscription fee.

The changeover should be relatively painless and will not affect anyone’s ability to drive. But it still is good to have automatic emergency notifications sent if an accident occurs and you or your passengers are seriously injured. In such cases, the technology literally might be a lifesaver.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help to Hold Bad Drivers Accountable For Causing Accidents.

The experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help you to file well-supported claims for damages or injuries that you might suffer during a car accident. Call 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Springfield, Georgia. We represent clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

How Can I Keep My Children Safe When Riding in the Car?

Car accidents are the leading cause of death in children over the age of four. While today’s motor vehicles are safer than ever thanks to the latest advances in safety technology, and car seats are effective at protecting children in the event of an accident, accidents can and do occur. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of car accidents, and to ensure that your child is safe and protected. From choosing the right car seat and always wearing a seat belt to obeying the rules of the road and making safety a top priority at all times, establishing safe habits will protect your entire family whenever you are in the car.

How Do I Choose the Right Car Seat?

Car seats have come a long way when it comes to protecting children from serious, even life-threatening injuries if they are in the car when an accident occurs. Choosing the right car seat can be an overwhelming process, but the following tips can help make the right choice based on their child’s age, height and weight:

  • Infants and toddlers: Children should be secured in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat until they are at least two years old, or until they outgrow the height and weight limits. It is recommended that children remain in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible, because the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord are supported and protected by the car seat. Examples of rear-facing car seats include infant seats, which are only rear-facing and are designed for newborns and small babies, and convertible seats, which are full-sized car seats that can be used in the rear-facing and front-facing position, some of which may fit a newborn.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers: Children should use forward-facing car seats from the time they outgrow the rear-facing seat until they weigh at least 65 pounds, their shoulders are above the seat’s top harness slots and the child’s ears reach the top of the car seat. This usually occurs when the child reaches the age of five or six. These car seats generally have a 5-point harness, which contacts more points of the body and distributes the force of the impact. Examples of front-facing car seats include convertible seats, all-in-one seats and combination seats with a harness, which go from a forward-facing seat to a belt positioning booster.
  • School-aged children: Children who have outgrown the forward-facing car seat should be secured in a booster seat, which uses the adult lap and shoulder belt in the back seat. The booster seat lifts the child up so that the adult seat belt will contact the strongest point of the child’s body and provide the best protection. Generally, children should use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.
  • Older children: When a child has outgrown the booster seat, they should wear the lap and shoulder belt every time they ride in the car. In addition, all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat at all times. If the airbag deploys, and a young child is riding in the front seat, it can cause serious, even fatal injuries.

What Hot Weather Safety Tips Should I Keep in Mind?

Summer is approaching, which means that the temperatures are slowly but surely starting to climb. On hot days, the temperature inside the car can climb almost 20 degrees in only ten minutes. Cracking the window open a few inches does not prevent the temperature from continuing to climb. Unfortunately, every ten days, a child dies from heatstroke after being in a hot vehicle. In more than half of these tragic fatalities, the caretaker forgot that the child was in the car. Parents can prevent these devastating deaths by keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Never leave a child alone in the car. Even if you are making a quick stop or just dropping something off, do not leave a small child in the car, as the car can get very hot very quickly.
  • Create reminders. Oftentimes, these tragic accidents occur because the parent or caregiver forgot that the child was in the back seat. You can prevent this from happening by keeping a stuffed animal or some other memento in the front seat as a reminder that your child is in the car. You could also keep your purse, phone, or left shoe in the back seat when you are driving with your child. That way, you will have to reach for it when you get out of the car, which will remind you that your child is in the back seat.
  • Take immediate action. If you happen to notice a child in the back seat of a car, and there is no adult in the vehicle, call 911 immediately so that police or emergency personnel can respond quickly and remove the child from the vehicle.

What Else Can I Do to Keep My Child Safe in and Around Cars?

In addition to choosing the appropriate car seat and making sure that your child is not left in a hot car, the following tips will help keep your children safe while they are in the car, or in the vicinity of other cars:

  • Avoid letting your child eat certain foods in the car. Having snacks on hand is always a good idea, particularly when the children start to get hungry and cranky. However, certain foods can be a choking hazard, which can turn deadly if the child is in a rear-facing car seat and you do not notice that he or she is choking. Most safety organizations urge parents to avoid giving children any food while they are in the car. However, if snacks are a must-have, applesauce pouches or yogurt tubes would be a safer option.
  • Always hold hands in the parking lot. Young children do not always understand the dangers of parking lots, including motorists who back out of their spot without looking or people who drive too fast through parking lots. Parents should hold their children’s hands, even if they have a toddler who is going through an independent phase who wants to do everything without any help. Teach them that holding hands in parking lots is non-negotiable.
  • Secure any loose articles. If there are any sharp objects in the vehicle, put them in the glove compartment or in the trunk. In the event of an accident, these can become a dangerous projectile and cause serious injuries. Even unrestrained pets can be projected with extreme force if you or another vehicle were traveling at a high speed at the time of the accident.
  • Do not let children play near parked cars. This may seem harmless, but if the car owner gets in and starts to back up, he or she may not see the children if they are in his or her blind spot. This can have tragic consequences.
  • Put your phone away. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents, and talking and texting on the phone is one of the main culprits.
  • Teach children to look both ways before crossing the street. Too often, small children will run into the street if they are chasing a ball, or running home from another house. If they do not look both ways before crossing, and a car is driving by, they could get hit by a car and suffer very serious injuries. Even if the car is traveling at a relatively low speed, the injuries could be fatal.
  • Keep the windows on child lock when the children are in the car. According to, it only takes 22 pounds of force to suffocate or seriously injure an infant. Power winders can exert anywhere between 30 and 80 pounds of force. Despite the fact that newer car models are equipped with power winders that have improved safety features, it is highly recommended that parents and caregivers keep the child lock feature in use when the children are in the car, whether the vehicle is moving or parked.

Savannah Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Victims of Car Accidents

If your child was injured in a car accident, you are urged to contact our Savannah car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. With our office located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Happens if You Tamper with an Ignition Interlock Device?

In Georgia, having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle is a standard penalty for second and subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. IIDs are similar to breathalyzers, except they connect to the car’s ignition system. The driver must blow into the device before starting the car. If the IID detects any amount of alcohol, the car will not start.

Newer IID models require the driver to also blow into the device at certain intervals while driving. This idea is to prevent a driver from having a sober friend blow into the IID to help start the car.

Georgia drivers arrested for DUI have the option to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or install an IID on their vehicle. However, Georgia drivers that have been arrested for a second DUI within five years are required to install the device for 12 months.

There are two ways a person who is arrested for DUI in Georgia can lose their license:

  • Administrative Per Se: If you fail a breathalyzer test or refuse to take one, your license will be confiscated immediately. You will receive a 10-day temporary license from the arresting officer. During this period, you can request a hearing to challenge your suspension. If you do not request this hearing, or if your challenge is unsuccessful, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
  • Judicial: This occurs when a Georgia court sentences you after a trial or plea agreement. Penalties include license suspension, jail time, and community service hours. Even if you are not convicted in the court of a DUI offense, your administrative suspension can still be in effect.

A driver who refuses a sobriety test or yields a BAC over the legal limit of .08 percent can choose to put an interlock ignition device on their vehicle. This is called a voluntary interlock. This voluntary interlock takes place before the case ever goes to court.

They must keep the device on their car for at least 12 months regardless of whether the case is dismissed, they are found not guilty, or the charge is reduced to reckless driving.

In cases where a driver refuses a sobriety test, and there is an automatic license suspension, an IID installation can allow them to drive for 12 months instead of losing their driver’s license for 12 months.

A driver convicted of DUI may also be required to receive clinical treatments or attend diversion and risk reduction programs as well.

Second DUI Convictions

If a person is arrested for a second DUI offense within five years of the first, they automatically receive a 120-day license suspension. After 120 days, they must have an IID installed on their vehicle for 12 months. They may be able to get a work-driving permit instead of losing all driving privileges with the IID.


Georgia has strict laws about tampering with an IID, as follows:

a) It is unlawful for any person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111 to request or solicit any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111.

(c) It is unlawful to tamper with, or circumvent the operation of, an ignition interlock device.

Consequences of Tampering with an IID

If a person is convicted of tampering with an IID, they will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. In most cases, a judge will require someone on probation who is caught tampering with an IID to finish their sentence in jail instead of at home. Another possible outcome is that the judge will extend how long the IID will need to remain on the vehicle. It is simply not worth tampering with an IID. And, if a friend who blows into the IID so you can start your vehicle is caught, they will face penalties as well.

What if an IID Registers Alcohol on my Breath?

Every person on probation for DUI is prohibited from consuming any alcohol. The IID does not measure blood alcohol level – it detects any amount of alcohol.

The driver’s probation officer has access to every sample provided on the IID. This record is printed out or downloaded for the probation officer’s review every 30 days in Georgia by law.

As noted previously, newer IIDs require a breath sample while driving to ensure that the person that provided the breath sample to start the car is the person still driving it. The device will log attempts to circumvent blowing into the device to start the car. These results will also be forwarded to the driver’s probation officer.

If the driver fails to provide a sample or tests positive for alcohol, the probation officer will likely file a petition to revoke some or all of their probation. A warrant will then be issued for their arrest, and they will be held until the hearing. Hearings can take up to 30 days, so the person will remain in jail until the hearing.

Can an Ignition Interlock Device be Wrong?

An IID rarely will report a false positive, but it can happen. An IID cannot tell the difference between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol, called ethanol, is created when fruits or grains are fermented to produce alcoholic drinks. It is present in beer, wine, and liquor. Isopropyl alcohol is found in mouthwash, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and gels. If your vehicle has an IID, avoid consuming any food, mouthwash, or beverage for at least 20 minutes before blowing into it to get an accurate reading.

What are the Costs Associated with an IID?

If you must install an IID on your vehicle or choose to install one to avoid license suspension, there are fees to be aware of. Generally, you can count on a $100-$200 installation charge and monthly fees ranging from $70-$100. There are also costs for maintenance, calibration, and device removal.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a DUI Arrest?

It can be beneficial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. They can assist you in many ways, including helping you to decide whether to install an IID on your vehicle or appeal to the Department of Drivers’ Services. They can also help you fight the charge if that makes the best sense for your situation. Many times, a lawyer can get a DUI charge reduced or possibly even thrown out.   

Impaired driving arrests are not always a slam dunk for law enforcement. There are many circumstances surrounding arrests that a lawyer can analyze. There could be improper processes and procedures or extenuating circumstances. Let a lawyer help reduce the charges or get them thrown out. An impaired driving charge is a social stigma and not a good thing to have on your record when seeking employment. It is wise to hire an experienced lawyer who can help fight the charges.

The Springfield DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Defend Against DUI Charges

Not every DUI case is as cut-and-dried as it may seem. Our skilled Springfield DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. Contact us for a free consultation by calling us at 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve residents in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas from our office in Springfield, Georgia.

Who is Liable if a Defective Car Part Caused an Accident?

Car accidents happen for many reasons, though most accidents involve some form of human error, but defective car parts can cause accidents. Cars are made of thousands of moving parts that need to work together to ensure your safe travel. When a part is defective, it can cause an accident, although the cause may not be immediately clear.

Accidents Caused by Defective Car Parts are Rare

Car manufacturers are heavily regulated. The government requires strict compliance with many manufacturing standards, ensuring that nearly every car that leaves a factory and ends up on the road is safe for travel. But this system is not perfect.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about two percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by defective parts. While that is a small percentage, that still equates to about 22,000 accidents per year. In reality, the true number of accidents caused by defective parts is probably much higher because of the difficulty of making a clear determination of a defective car part’s impact on a crash. Many accidents cause catastrophic damage to vehicles, making it challenging for accident investigators to figure out the exact reason for the crash.

The good news is that many automobile recalls happen because of these types of crashes. When a lawyer is retained by someone injured in the crash, they will work with accident reconstruction experts who will turn over every rock to figure out exactly what caused the accident. Not only can this help avoid future accidents, but it also helps you figure out exactly what caused your accident and what company is to blame.

Defective Products

When a defective car part is found to be the cause of your accident, you will need to prove that it was defective in one of three ways:

  • Design: A design defect occurs when a vehicle part was made incorrectly by its very design. Design defects usually occur with every product manufactured, since the defect is in the design of the product itself.
  • Manufacturing: A manufacturing defect occurs when a part was manufactured incorrectly, causing a defect. Manufacturing defects usually happen to just one or a limited number of parts.
  • Warning: Manufacturers have a duty and responsibility to warn users and consumers of any known dangers with their products. If there was no warning and the danger was not obvious, a manufacturer could be liable for injuries.

It is important to determine what type of defect caused your car accident because your lawyer will need to prove, with evidence, that the manufacturer was to blame. Understanding the cause of the crash is part of the evidence your lawyer will need to show the manufacturer is liable.

Common Defective Car Parts

Any part of your vehicle could be defective. From small screws to belts and hoses to the engine, any part of a car is subject to potential defect. But some parts of a car are more likely to be defectively dangerous than others. These include:

  • Airbag
  • Cruise control
  • Glass
  • Leaking
  • Parking brake
  • Pedal failure
  • Seat belts
  • Steering
  • Software failure
  • Suspension
  • Tires

The resulting injuries can be dangerous. People can suffer any type of injury in a car accident caused by a defective part. Those injuries could keep you from enjoying your life and require you to receive ongoing medical care.

How to Get Compensation?

After a car accident, you may not be thinking about a lawsuit. But you need to, at least enough to call a lawyer. After a car accident, you have limited time to file a claim. Your lawyer will need time to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to figure out what part caused your accident so they can file a claim against the right company.

They do all of this in an effort to get you compensation for:

  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work temporarily, or at all. This can severely limit your ability to earn a living and support yourself.

But to ensure you and your legal team work to hold the right company liable, you may need an accident reconstruction expert to investigate your accident. Your lawyer may have resources available to help with this and will be able to work with the insurance company representing the at-fault company.

Soon after a determination is made about what company is liable for your car accident, the insurance company representing that company may call you. They will offer you a quick settlement, hoping that you take it without further consideration. They may even say that the offer is “only good today” and it is the absolute highest amount they can offer, which may be a stretch of the truth or untrue. That means, months or years later, when the settlement funds have run dry but you still have medical bills to pay, there is nothing you can do. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.

Most car accident victims underestimate the amount of money they will need to recover to avoid paying even a single penny out of their own pocket. That is why it is absolutely crucial that you speak with a lawyer right away. Your lawyer can help create an accurate estimate of your future medical and financial needs. Considering the amount of time you will be out of work, and factoring in any ongoing medical care you may require, your legal team can help figure out what you need to avoid financial hardship.

Not all legal teams are equipped to handle this complex calculation. It requires collaboration with medical experts to understand your injuries and the impact they have on your life. It will require consultation with specialists to figure out the likelihood of your body returning to your pre-accident condition. All of this information is used to determine whether and when you will be able to financially support yourself again. If you cannot or if it will be some time before you can, your lawyer will aggressively negotiate with the negligent company’s insurance company to help get you maximum compensation.

The Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Hold Negligent Parties Liable for Your Injuries

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need to know your legal options. Speak with our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve our Georgia neighbors in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Call Us: 912-754-6003

412 North Laurel Street
Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
Fax: 912-754-6336

Email: [email protected]


Providing Superior Representation All Across Georgia.