Drivers are aware that they must uphold a certain standard of care when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Failure to uphold these standards could mean risking the life of the driver as well as other on the roadway.
Distracted driving combined with driving under the influence could prove to have been a disastrous combination for one woman involved in an accident. The 45-year-old New Yorker was driving east on Route 5 when her car crossed over the center line and into the path of a SUV heading in the opposite direction.
The SUV ended up in the path of an eastbound pickup truck with a horse trailer attached to it. The truck hit the SUV, and the passenger of the SUV was killed on impact. The driver of the SUV suffered from serious injuries and spent several months at a hospital, followed by a rehabilitation facility.
The driver of the car is facing multiple charges because drug tests revealed that the woman had various controlled substances in her system, such as Prazosin and Topiramate. The woman was charges with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault and driving while impaired . Although the drugs had been prescribed to her, the prescriptions have warnings indicating the dangers of driving while taking the medication.
The woman was also charged with the improper use of a portable electronic device on a highway. It was alleged that she was using a handheld GPS unit at the time of the accident. She has pleaded not guilty to these charges and was later released on bail. In addition to facing ciminal penalties, the driver could endure civil liabilities. Those injured could file a personal injury claim and the loved ones of the deceased could file a wrongful death suit.
Drivers who behave negligently behind the wheel and are involved in car accidents can be held liable for damages caused by their negligence. The affected party will need to show that the driver was negligent, that the negligence was a proximate cause of the accident and that the accident was responsible for the plaintiff's injuries or death.
Source: Syracuse, "Woman pleads not guilty to manslaughter in Central New York crash," Charley Hannagan, April 24, 2014