Risks and preventative measures related to drunk driving

Drinking and driving is a serious problem in Georgia and the rest of the United States because on average one person dies every 51 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired driver. While nearly 30 people die because of these accidents a day, the financial consequences of drunk driving are large too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving crashes cost more than $59 billion a year when totaled.

Some people are more at risk for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol than others. Twenty-nine percent of motorcyclists who died in car accidents in 2012 had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, which is above the legal limit. Almost half of these motorcyclists were 40 years old or older, and motorcycle drivers between the ages of 40 and 44 are most likely to drive while intoxicated. Regardless of BAC, younger drivers are more at risk for being involved in a drunk driving accident than older drivers. Additionally, one out of three drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a BAC of .08 percent or higher were between 21 and 24 years old.

When combating drunk driving, sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock devices might be helpful. Drunk driving crashes could be reduced by 9 percent when authorities stop traffic and assess drivers for impairment, and interlock devices lower the arrest rates for driving under the influence by 70 percent.

While some methods can reduce the likelihood of drunk driving accidents, these preventable wrecks still occur and can injure or kill innocent individuals. If one suffers injuries because of the negligent actions of a drunk driver, a victim could file a claim in civil court to recover expenses lost due to the accident like medical costs and property damage. The loved ones of someone killed in an alcohol-related accident may also file a claim.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", October 31, 2014

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