A car accident lawyer discusses Colorado's most dangerous highway
Despite decades of warnings and public safety announcements about the dangers of driving drunk, some motorists still choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.
While drunk driving has been surpassed by distracted driving as the leading cause of accidents overall, it remains a disproportionate cause of severe and fatal accidents, especially on certain highways. One of those roads is I-25 in Colorado, where alcohol is a factor in nearly a third of fatal crashes.
According to a recent study by ValuePenguin, there were 49 alcohol-related fatal crashes on I-25 in the five-year period from 2015 to 2019. The same study also found that I-25 was the 37th most dangerous highway in America overall, with the most dangerous stretch being in El Paso County.
The dangers of drunk driving are magnified on I-25
Again, it's no secret that driving drunk is dangerous, but it's helpful to break down the specific ways that alcohol inhibits driving. There are three key dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
- Poor judgment and decision-making. Drunk drivers have a difficult time giving other vehicles adequate space, obeying traffic signals, managing their speed, and deciding when to turn or change lanes.
- Slower reaction time. Slower reflexes make it more difficult to avoid a collision if someone stops short or cuts you off. Alcohol also impairs hand-eye coordination, inhibiting the driver from turning the wheel or hitting the brakes in time.
- Decreased vision. Drunk drivers may have blurry or unfocused vision, which is particularly problematic at night or in inclement weather.
Obviously, these effects of alcohol are dangerous on any road, but the dangers are magnified at high speeds and in high congestion, both of which are factors on I-25. The 75 mph speed limit on most of the highway means there is less time to react to hazards to begin with, so drunk drivers with slower reflexes are particularly dangerous. Moreover, drunk drivers are particularly prone to misreading traffic signs and going the wrong way, which is dangerous at any speed but even more devastating at highway speeds.
If you've been hit by a drunk driver, we can help
People injured in drunk driving accidents, whether on I-25 or any other road, have legal recourse under Colorado law. You can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs from the at-fault driver. In some circumstances — for instance, if the drunk driver was well over the legal limit, or knowingly got behind the wheel while intoxicated — we may even be able to pursue punitive damages.
Keep in mind that a claim for damages from a drunk driver is a civil action distinct from any criminal charges filed by the State of Colorado in connection with the same incident. It's possible to win your civil claim for damages even if the drunk driver is acquitted in criminal court.
The key is to act quickly. Evidence can disappear fast, especially on the highway, and your attorney needs to take prompt legal action before important deadlines expire. If you were hurt by a drunk driver on I-25 or anywhere in Colorado, give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.