Every day in the United States nearly 30 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one fatality every 48 minutes and an annual cost of more than $51 billion.
Alcohol related car accidents are also a problem in West Virginia. In 2011 in West Virginia,
· 91 people were killed due to alcohol impaired drivers
· 9 people under 21 years of age were killed due to alcohol-impaired drivers
· 17.3 percent of total driving fatalities involved under 21 alcohol impaired drivers
· 75 percent of the alcohol impaired driving fatalities involved a BAC of greater than .15
· 5,356 people were arrested for driving under the influence
Alcohol-impaired car wrecks are devastating. When drunk drivers get behind the wheel, they are putting innocent lives at risk. Victims of DUI accidents face many hardships including serious injuries, loss wages, and high medical bills.
Alcohol-impaired car wrecks can be prevented. These safety steps can be used to minimize DUI related car accidents:
· Prior to drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group
· Don’t let your friends drive drunk. Take away their car keys.
· If you have been drinking, and do not have a designated driver, get a ride home from a friend or call a taxi.
· If you are hosting a party where alcohol is served, remind your friends and gusts to plan ahead and to designate a sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
Deaths and injuries can be prevented. Effective measures to reduce alcohol related car accidents include:
· Actively enforcing .08 BAC laws; minimum legal drinking age laws, and zero tolerance laws for drivers under 21 years of age;
· Using DUI checkpoints to identify drunk drivers;
· Requiring mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment for DUI offenders;
· Using community-based approaches to alcohol control for DUI prevention.
Alcohol related car accidents can be prevented. Unfortunately, when alcohol related car accidents occur, the victim often faces devastating consequences. Medical bills pile up, wages are lost, and at times, lives are lost. A DUI accident attorney can help investigate a DUI accident, determine the cause of the accident, and often can pursue punitive damage claims. Punitive damage claims are used to punish and deter reckless conduct of the impaired driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, contact the Manchin Injury Law Group to protect your legal rights.