West Palm Beach, FL- Some motorcyclists by nature are rebels willing to take risks with their own lives and they represent a large majority of drivers who take to the roads when they are drunk. This is a mistake; as a West Palm Beach man has learned after being jailed for injuring one of his passengers in March drunken driving accident.
Lawrence M. Begnoche, 48, and his passenger Lisette Longarzo, 55, were traveling on South Dixie Highway on March 15th when his bike toppled over and struck the back of a car, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Longarzo was thrown from the bike and violently hit the ground, her brain began to bleed, she later fell into coma, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Begnoche, the officers noted was slurring his speech, had glassy eyes and was completely unaware of where he was. In addition to appearing drunk, he had a bag of marijuana tucked into his socks.
Two blood tests revealed that his blood alcohol was between .216 and .215, way, way, way above the state’s legal limit of .08—and the rest of the country’s for that matter unless the NTSB gets their way and lowers it.
Police arrested Begnoche on May 24th for DUI, serious bodily injury to another and possession of marijuana
It’s hard to say why bikers choose to drive drunk, probably for the same reasons that other Begnoche or other drivers do, because they think the alcohol will affect their ability to drive or react in a hazardous situation. But alcohol is a depressant so it slows the many processes of the brain, that combined with a fast bike and decreased inhibitions and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Since there has not been an extensive study of motorcycle accident and DUIs in sometime, well over a decade, we have to use rely on older statistics to show what a rampant problem drinking and driving among motorcyclists. According to an article in Motorcycle magazine, data from 2002 showed that 45 percent of riders involved in a fatal single-vehicle crash were intoxicated. The magazine also noted that at least 36 percent of those riders had a blood alcohol level of .10 or higher.
Don’t be mistaken in thinking that a DUI on a motorcycle is any different than a DUI in a motor vehicle, a vehicle is a vehicle in the eyes of the law—hell, you can even get a DUI on a bicycle. If you get caught you could face jail time, lose your license and pay thousands of dollars in fines.
If you happen to hurt someone else, then you’re really in trouble, DUIs involving injuries or death won’t get you much sympathy in court and is almost a guaranteed to get you some jail time and a possible huge settlement payout to the victim.
A motorcycle DUI doesn’t spell doom, but if you want to continue riding a cycle other than a scooter or a bike you need a DUI attorney.