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Bergen County’s Problem – Drunk Driving

The decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol can permanently alter one’s life. Preventing friends and family from driving while impaired by alcohol is the most important step one can take to ensure drunk driving has no place in a community. While enjoying a night out with family or friends in Bergen County, it can be difficult or burdensome to plan out how everyone will be getting home after the event. Figuring out the local public transportation system, taxi service, or ridesharing app can cost time, money, and energy. Time and time again, however, the repercussions of not taking these measures have turned out to be serious and even deadly. Before getting into a motor vehicle after a night at the local bar or nightclub, one should consider the following facts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people die everyday in the United States as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. Costing over $44 billion annually, drunk driving also claims someone’s life every 53 minutes. Northern New Jersey, in particular, has a bad record with alcohol-impaired driving. Cited as one of the top counties in New Jersey for DUI arrests, Bergen County also has an outstanding rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths.

This past Sunday on June 29th, for example, Fort Lee resident Christine H. Ko, 22, struck and killed an 86-year-old man while allegedly driving drunk. Issued motor vehicle summonses for reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle with an open alcoholic beverage container, Ko will also be charged with vehicular homicide. Arraigned by the Fort Lee Municipal Court, Ko was remanded to the Bergen County Jail Annex in lieu of $150,000 bail. It is likely that Ko will be sued for money damages as well. According to Steven Benvenisti, an attorney who almost died due to the recklessness of a drunk driver and who is now a national board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, civil lawsuits may ultimately uncover the true fact and circumstance surrounding the tragedy. He goes on to say, “In a criminal prosecution for manslaughter or vehicular homicide, a defendant may avoid testifying by raising the Fifth Amendment or pleading guilty, but in a civil lawsuit they may be ordered to undergo hours in interrogation by a skilled personal injury lawyer.” Often these depositions disclose facts as to the true cause, such as the bartender over-serving a customer, or a liquor store selling alcohol or beer to minors.

Victims of drunk driving accidents should know that there are resources available to help them pursue legal solutions. Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C., a team of experienced personal injury attorneys in Teaneck, NJ, has provided skilled and compassionate legal assistance to families affected by the negligence of others for over 30 years. To schedule an initial free consultation, one can reach them at 201-907-5000.