DUI deaths are increasing in California
Driving while impaired is a widespread problem. Recently, we’ve posted a few news stories about serious car accidents that involved drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. These stories are very tragic; most tragic of all is the knowledge that the deaths and injuries would not have occurred had the driver acted responsibly.
In 2008, 11,733 Americans lost their lives in driving crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. That’s about 32 people a day, or one death every forty-five minutes. These crashes accounted for one-third of the traffic deaths in the United States, and each of these fatalities is a death that could have been prevented if the driver was not driving while under the influence.
Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, there were over 159 million self-reported episodes of impaired driving. Impaired drivers put themselves and others at risk.
According to a CDC study, alcohol-impaired driving is increasing. The groups most likely to engage in alcohol-impaired driving are young people, motorcyclists and drivers with prior DUI convictions.
• Among drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08% or greater who were involved in fatal car crashes, more than one-third were between the ages of 21 and 24. Almost as many drivers were between the ages of 25 and 34.
• Nearly 30% of motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes have BAC levels of 0.08% or greater. However, 40% of alcohol-impaired motorcyclists involved in accidents are between the ages of 40 and 44.
• Drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher involved in fatal crashes were eight times more likely to have a previous DUI conviction than drivers in non-alcohol related crashes.
Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. Often these drugs are combined with alcohol.
Ignition interlock programs such as the ones that went into effect in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare counties have been shown to reduce repeat DUI offenses. It is believed that widespread use with reduce alcohol-related accidents.
Even the safest driver cannot protect himself from the dangers of drunk driving. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an accident with a driver under the influence, an attorney can advise you of your rights rights. Contact the Orange County personal injury lawyers at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie to learn about compensation for medical and burial costs, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages.