Drunk Drivers Kill 10,000+ People Every Year
Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities every tear. An estimated 10,322 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The deadliest states are Texas, California and Florida.
Some of the sobering facts about drunk driving:
- Someone is killed by a drunk driver every 40 minutes in the United States.
- Experts estimate that about three out of every ten drivers in the United States will be involved in an alcohol-related car crash at some point during their driving career.
- There were more than 1.4 million drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
- The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level in all 50 states is .08 grams per deciliter. In order to reach that level of alcohol concentration, a person who weighs about 170 pounds would need to drinks four drinks in one hour without any food in his stomach.
- A driver who has a BAC at the legal limit of .08 is up to 11 times more likely to cause a fatal car crash than a driver who is completely sober.
- Alcohol has a detrimental effect on driving ability and reaction/response time even at BAC levels as low as .02.
Those who are involved in accidents involving drunk driving often secure substantial recoveries as a result of their injuries. For example:
- An Ohio judge upheld a $2.85 million jury verdict against a drunken exotic dancer who crashed into a couple driving home. The engaged couple were hit by the drunk driver who drove across three lanes of the Interstate and smashed into them, pushing their car into a wall and causing severe injuries. The award was also against the club she worked in, which encouraged the exotic dancers to drink at work.
- A permanently disabled and brain damaged teen from New Orleans was awarded $21.5 million in damages after having been in a car whose driver had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit. The driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree. He was killed as well as two other teens in the car. The teens had been celebrating the start of their senior year in High School.
- A Pennsylvania jury awarded $28 million to the family of a 24 year old woman who was in a car which was hit head on by a drunk driver whose BAC was three times over the limit.
Drunk drivers can face serious criminal charges, with penalties including restitution and jail time, they can also face civil liability if they are sued by their victims. A civil suit for drunk driving is a separate process from any criminal proceedings a drunk driver may face. Criminal proceedings are designed to protect the public from future harm by acting as a deterrent to drunk driving, as well as to punish the drunk driver for acting in a reckless manner.
A civil case based on drunk driving comes in the form of an injury lawsuit filed by the victim of a drunk driver, or in the case of a fatality, filed by the victim’s next of kin, to recover damages. If you are injured by a drunk driver, a civil suit could be your only recourse when attempting to recover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property or other economic damages. Civil suits, depending upon the law of your jurisdiction, also may offer the opportunity to recover non-economic damages, i.e. money for pain and suffering.