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The Sobering Realities of Drunk Driving

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 28 people per day die in accidents caused by drunk drivers. On average, impaired motorists cause one fatality every 51 minutes. In 2015, 10,265 individuals died in alcohol-impaired crashes. This was the highest level since 2012 when 10,336 drunk driving fatalities were recorded. Nationally, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates the economic impact of DUI accidents exceeds $52 billion per year.

Drunk Driving Takes its Toll

Law enforcement agencies throughout the nation have stepped up education and enforcement efforts in order to stop drunk drivers in their tracks. In 2015, law enforcement arrested 1.1 million drivers for DUI/DWAI. However, that's just a drop in the bucket of the actual numbers of drunk drivers on the road. That same year, just over 1% of drivers throughout the nation self-reported driving drunk at least once in the previous year.

The high rates of drunk driving across the country are a deadly reality that from 2003 to 2012 cost nearly 3,500 Tennesseans their lives. Fortunately, the incidents of self-reported DUI are decreasing. These rates peaked at 161 million incidents in 2006. While they rose sharply from 2010-2012, they also dropped sharply from 2012-2014. Thus, it does seem that while DUI fatalities are increasing, an increasing number of drivers are "getting the message" regarding the legal risks and realities of drunk driving.

In 2015, the CDC recorded 1,132 automobile accident fatalities for children under the age of 14. Of these, 209 were the direct result of drunk driving. According to the CDC, drunk driving is the leading cause of childhood fatalities throughout the United States.

Who is Driving Drunk?

A driver's previous record of drunk driving incidents is a harbinger of deadly things to come. In 2015, drivers who were involved in a fatal DUI accident with a BAC of .08% or greater were 4.5 more likely to have a previous alcohol-related driving conviction on their record. Data gathered by the NHTSA shows that men are more likely to be involved in a DUI related fatality accident than women. In 2014, 23% of drivers in fatal alcohol-related crashes were men, while 15% were women.

Drivers who have been involved in a DUI related accident should discuss their legal options with a personal injury lawyer in Tennessee. Individuals can pursue claims for personal injuries, property damage, loss of wages, and other economic and non-economic damages.

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