You've seen the ads: "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving." You've heard the DWI statistics. But unless you have personally felt the effects of drunk driving or you work as a personal injury lawyer representing actual people whose lives have been ripped apart by the real devastation a drunk driver can cause, it probably doesn't hit home.
But home is exactly where drunk drivers hit - and hit hard.
Families shattered. Children and teens' lives cut short. Or left permanently disabled, severely disfigured. Brain damaged.
I'll never forget one case in particular. It haunts me to this day.
A man was in his vehicle, stopped in traffic. The other driver - the drunk driver - had skipped out of work early and started drinking with his buddies. He was so drunk when he got behind the wheel that he plowed right into my client's car, hitting him so hard, the man was ejected from the vehicle and killed. The man had a wife and young children, and was a pillar in his community. This one irresponsible, irreversible event plunged his family into a downward spiral.
While we could not help this poor family's emotional burden, our team went into overdrive to get that family everything we could to help ease their financial burden. We left no stone unturned to get them a settlement that would help pay for therapy, loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and punitive damages, among other things*.
Drunk Driving: The Facts
So here are those statistics again. Read them. But this time read them knowing that each statistic represents a real person. Real people just like you and me.
|NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts reported that in 2013, every 52 minutes a death occurred as a result of a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 or higher.
That's 10,076 deaths.
A BAC level of .08 g/dL, is about four standard drinks in one hour for a 170-lb. man or three drinks in an hour for a 140-lb. woman.
Among those fatalities, 68% were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher - or roughly six to eight drinks in an hour.
Those 10,076 deaths represented 31% of all traffic fatalities for that year! Simply put, drunk drivers were behind a third of all traffic deaths!
The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was nearly four times higher at night than during the day.
The highest rates of drunk driving occur among drivers aged 21-24. This age group makes up 35% of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal collisions.
We all know what alcohol does to the body and brain - slowing our reactions, blurring our vision, making us brave, making us take unnecessary risks. Here are some links worth sharing with friends, family and others - especially teens and twenty-somethings.
Drunk Driving Links Worth Sharing
And, it bears repeating, if you've been drinking, call a cab, or Uber or Lyft. Contact a sober friend or relative. Use public transportation. Use your head - DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!
*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results.