Drunk Drivers Hit U.S. Roadways Leaving Wake of Destruction

It happened 112 million times in 2010. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, about four million drunk drivers got behind the wheel and hit the roadways 112 million times. And, studies show, men make up the largest number of offenders. More than 80 percent of the drinking and driving occurrences involved men. Worse, young men ages 21 to 34, who make up just over 10 percent of the American population, were responsible for nearly one third of the instances. Drunk drivers put everyone on the road at risk of serious injury or death. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), drunk driving and alcohol-related crashes will impact one out of every three people. Further, more than 10,000 people will be killed in drunk driving accidents. Though that number is staggering, there is good news. A Declining Trend Over the past five years, episodes of driving while intoxicated/driving while under the influence (DWI/DUI) have decreased by 30 percent. The CDC and MADD attribute the decline to increased sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks and strict enforcement of drinking age laws and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. However, the danger is as perilous as ever. “While we’ve made progress, this is still a huge threat to everyone who uses the roads,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Experts agree that more needs to be done to reduce and prevent episodes of drunk driving. From educational programs in schools to court-ordered rehabilitation programs, efforts must continue to help young people recognize the dangers of alcohol use and getting behind the wheel. Experts also call for even stronger law enforcement efforts and increases in alcohol taxes to make alcohol use prohibitive, especially among teens and young men. Preventing Tragedy The best prevention of alcohol-impaired driving and related car crashes is to refrain from drinking and driving and to encourage others who may imbibe to use a designated driver for transportation. To reduce chances of serious injury or death on the roadways, always buckle up and encourage others to use their seatbelts. If a drunk driver causes an accident, it is important for injured parties and their families to consult with attorneys experienced in handling personal injury and wrongful death cases as a result of alcohol-related accidents. During a consultation, an attorney will be able to explain the victim’s legal rights and help them hold drunk drivers financially accountable for the pain, suffering and losses they cause.