A recent deadly wrong-way crash in Scottsdale has taken the life of a motorcyclist. The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported a vehicle operated by a driver who was DUI traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of State Route 101 in the early morning of October 22.
The vehicle, an SUV, struck the motorcyclist head-on. The motorcyclist died from injuries sustained in the accident, while the other driver was unharmed. The driver of the SUV, who has been identified as 25-year-old Nicholas Sajovic, has been arrested and jailed under suspicion of second-degree murder. He was recently arrested in August for a DUI.
DUI laws in Arizona
While the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit across the nation is 0.08%, penalties vary from state to state. In Arizona, the laws driving under impairment, or DUI, are some of the strictest in the nation.
First offenders must serve jail time of no less than 10 days with a fine of $1,250, undergo treatment which includes community service, and have their vehicle equipped with a certified ignition interlock device (IID). Second and subsequent offenders are jailed a minimum of 90 days, fined a minimum of $3,000 with their driver’s license revoked for 12 months.
The tragedy of drunk driving fatalities
Almost one-third of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States involve alcohol impairment with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 g/dL or higher. In spite of education, social awareness and stiff penalties for offenders, accidents like this recent one happen too often, tragically taking loved ones from their communities and families.
Fortunately, in Arizona it is possible to pursue personal injury or wrongful death damages in several ways with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. If it can be proven that the drunk driver acted willfully or maliciously, it is possible to also significantly raise compensatory damages by claiming punitive damages. If the driver does not have enough or any insurance coverage, pursuing third-party liability is also a viable option.
Arizona is one state that imposes liability on alcohol vendors—the so-called “dram shops”—for serving to minors or customers who were clearly intoxicated before they got behind the wheel. Arizona law also allows liability claims against social hosts who serve alcohol to minors. Filing for wrongful death or injury damages not only punishes the offender, but creates an example of them that hopefully discourages others from following.