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San Jose highway sign reminds drivers not to drive impaired

Posted on in Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one can be devastating to friends and family members. This is particularly true when deaths are the result of car accidents involving impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, over 18 percent of drivers who were killed in a car accident had evidence of illegal or prescription drugs in their blood stream.

In some cases, damage awards from civil lawsuits may assist a family in dealing with the expenses associated with a death or catastrophic or serious injury. However, for some families, the best way to deal with the loss is to educate the public so that such a fatal accident will not happen to others.

A San Jose woman is finally able to see the resolution that she sought in the death of her daughter in the form of a memorial in her daughter's name. In 2006, a 20-year-old woman and her boyfriend were killed when their car was struck by a truck. The driver of the truck was diabetic and blacked out behind the wheel due to extremely low blood sugar. The driver blamed a malfunctioning insulin injector as causing his low blood sugar.

Following the accident, the woman's mother sued Caltrans. However, instead of monetary damages, the mother agreed to settle with a memorial in her daughter's honor. The sign warns driver's not to drive impaired and includes her daughter's name. This sign was installed on Interstate 280 in San Jose at the 11th Street off-ramp.

The term DUI generally refers to driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the term can also refer to driving under the influence of drugs. Use of any drug that impairs the driver's ability to properly drive a vehicle can give rise to a DUI, regardless of whether the driver has a prescription from a doctor.

Signs such as the one in memory of the fatally injured woman serve to remind drivers that any impairment can be dangerous on the road, not just impairment caused by alcohol.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "San Jose: Special freeway sign placed where two were killed in fiery 2006 crash," Mark Gomez, Oct. 2, 2012

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