Drunk Drivers and Hit and Runs
How to protect yourself in the event of an auto accident with a drunk driver
In my experience as an Orlando injury and accident attorney, drunk drivers are one of the greatest hazards on the road, and they often carry no insurance. What can you do to protect yourself against drunk drivers, or where do you turn if you’re involved in a crash with one?
The statistics on drunk drivers
There is no way to guarantee you’ll never encounter one, and the numbers show that drunk drivers are out there in greater numbers than you may realize.This ignition interlock site reports that by the time someone has earned a DUI, they’ve driven drunk on at least 80 other occasions. People who choose to drive while intoxicated aren’t often deterred by the law or their own records, and often continue to make the same bad decisions over and over again. Nearly 1/3 of drunk drivers are repeat offenders according to an often cited statistic from the NHSTA. For example, this Pennsylvania man had a total of 5 DUI charges before his 6th, which resulted in a fatal accident.
How can you protect yourself against drunk drivers?
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer is to stay off the roads when the bars close, for obvious reasons. Although drunk drivers are on the road at all times of the day, you’re more likely to encounter them in the late hours of the night.
Always, always practice general defensive driving and look out for the unexpected. Many of the tips from my Winter Driving Tips blog will always apply, and are echoed in these tips to avoid drunk drivers.
Is there auto insurance that will protect against drunk driving accidents?
Uninsured motorist coverage costs extra, but it’s worth it if you’re involved in a crash with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. And because many habitual drunk drivers have had their driver’s license revoked as a consequence of their decisions and choose to get on the road anyway – they will drive without insurance, too.
Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists. This 2019 blog from Ladders puts the number at 26.7% – one in four drivers on the road with you does not have insurance!
Even if your auto insurance agent told you that you have ‘full coverage,’ it may not be good coverage. When a lawyer hears ‘full coverage,’ then we know that you only have the minimum amount of insurance required to drive in Florida. You don’t have Bodily Injury (which defends you in a lawsuit if you cause a crash) and you don’t have Uninsured Motorist (which protects you if you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver without insurance).
It’s worth taking ten minutes to call your agent to ask about your uninsured motorist coverage! You can log on your insurance website and download your coverage. You can send us your insurance coverage, and we’ll give advice and insight into the coverage you have. I recommend that you have Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist coverage. Get the insurance you can afford, and that also protects you.
If you’re involved in a hit and run or an accident with a drunk driver who doesn’t carry insurance, there’s very little recourse for compensation for your losses without this important insurance.
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that everyone looks to their own insurance to pay for their medical bills, no matter who caused the crash. You can sue an uninsured driver, but people who don’t have insurance typically don’t have assets. You can’t get blood from a stone, and you can’t get a settlement or a judgment from somebody who didn’t have enough money to buy insurance.