At the accident scene, they test both drivers’ BAC. One is legally intoxicated. That person is now automatically deemed to be 100% the cause of the crash and is liable for all civil damages and criminal penalties that arise from it.
However, the other (sober) driver may easily have been the proximate cause of the crash. He may have been texting, eating a sandwich, swatting his kid, changing the CD player, or performing any one of a number of other activities that impaired his driving more than being intoxicated impaired the other driver’s. Or, he could just have been a lousy driver, or done something stupid that caused the crash.
Does anyone know of a serious auto accident where other factors beside one driver’s intoxication were at all taken into account? Every time I read about such an accident in the paper, the “drunk driver” is crucified. I wonder if we’ve gone a bit overboard on this. My theory is that 99% of all accidents are to at least some extent the fault of BOTH drivers, though obviously not always in equal degree. Does American jurisprudence recognize that intoxication only implies fault?