Before the Party: The Drunk Driving Stats We Hope Will Keep You Safe
It feels a bit cliché to write a post on New Years' Eve about the dangers of drinking and driving. In an ideal world, it would never be an issue because people would take the responsibility of driving seriously and would not drive while impaired. In this ideal world, our Panama City accident lawyer would not see innocent victims who are facing life-long, life-altering injuries because of a drunk driver. Our team would not need to protect the grieving family members who lost a loved one, because their loved one would be alive and well had the other driver taken a cab.
However, this is not an ideal world. While New Years' Eve is actually not the most dangerous holiday for drivers – Thanksgiving actually holds that title according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") – it is still a night associated with late-night parties and copious drinking. So, we feel it is still important to talk about drunk driving before the parties kick-off later this evening.
We've certainly talked about drunk driving on the blog before. In preparing this post, we looked for the right statistic that might convince someone to rethink stepping behind the wheel while impaired. Mothers Against Drunk Driving regularly sends out tweets on DUI matters, and these are just some of the drunk driving statistics that caught our attention.
- Every day, 27 people die in America due to drunk driving crashes (per NHTSA's data set). Car collisions are the leading cause of teen death, with about 1/3 of the accidents having been alcohol related. And each of those people left behind grieving family and friends, not to mention to reality of final expenses.
- In 2010, according to the FBI, more than 1.41 million drivers were arrested for DUIs involving alcohol or narcotic drugs. Another study, by the CDC, found 112 million instances of an adult drinking too much and then driving in 2010; this translates to approximately 300,000 occurrences of drinking and driving every day. These numbers represent millions of accidents waiting to happen. This includes plenty of minor crashes, but also many catastrophic accidents ending in permanent injury or death.
- 211 children died in drunk driving crashes in 2010. 131 of the dead children had been a passenger in the drunk driver's car. Think about the latter part of that sentence. 131 of the lives lost were children riding with a drunk parent or a drunk friend when they died. Consider your own behavior and get to know your kids' friends.
- According to an NHTSA study, 1/3 of all drivers charged or convicted with a DUI are repeat offenders. It seems to us that some people do not intend to stop until they hurt someone, and it is heartbreaking to work with a parent who lost a child and then learns the driver that caused the crash had prior DUIs. Civil courts find this similarly disturbing, which may factor into a damage award.
- Alcohol is metabolized over time, a process complicated when someone drinks quickly. Only time can sober someone up. Coffee, exercise, or a shower are useless for sobering someone up faster. People are often under the influence for longer than they realize. Someone who didn't get home till the wee hours of the morning after drinking might still be impaired when it is time to drive to work. Coffee might make him an alert drunk, but he's still drunk. And still a danger.
- Drunk driving costs our nation approximately $132 billion annually, per the NHTSA's data. This doesn't include the intangible loss to families, communities, and society as a whole. It is vital that the civil court system properly helps victims to recover damages from the drunk driver whose actions caused the loss
- According to the NHTSA, 9,878 people died in drunk driving incidents in 2011. Too many families are left grieving, often mourning their loved one at the same time they face increasing financial burdens due to medical bills, final expenses, and lost income. We can help these people. We are proud of helping these drunk driving victims in Panama City and throughout Northwest Florida. But it would be such a better world if this group didn't exist, and no one was left mourning a life lost to a drunk driver.
We wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe 2013.