Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.
One who willfully consumes alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication, knowing that he thereafter must operate a motor vehicle, thereby combining sharply impaired physical and mental faculties with a vehicle capable of great force and speed, reasonably may be held to exhibit a conscious disregard of the safety of others. The effect may be lethal whether or not the driver had a prior history of drunk driving incidents. The Taylor v. Superior Court, 24 Cal.3d 890, 897 (Cal. 1979), the California Supreme Court reasoned as follows:
Driving upon the highways implicates the various provisions of the Vehicle Code, and along with it, the doctrine of negligence per se.
Negligence per se is an evidence presumption established in Evidence Code Section 669, as follows:
The failure of a person to exercise due care is presumed if: “(1) He violated a statute, ordinance, or regulation of a public entity; “(2) The violation proximately caused death or injury to person or property; “(3) The death or injury resulted from an occurrence of the nature which the statute, ordinance, or regulation was designed to prevent; and “(4) The person suffering the death or the injury to his person or property was one of the class of persons for whose protection the statute, ordinance, or regulation was adopted. “(b) This presumption may be rebutted by proof that: “(1) The person violating the statute, ordinance, or regulation did what might reasonably be expected of a person of ordinary prudence, acting under similar circumstances, who desired to comply with the law; . . .”