By Pendergast Law on September 26, 2010
Three in ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident at some time in their lives.
More than 30% of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. An accident related to drunk driving happens every 45 minutes in the U.S., killing more than 10,000 people and injuring over 250,000 annually.
Most of those deaths could have been avoided if the drivers involved â€“ and the friends and family who let them get behind the wheel â€“ had simply chosen not to drink and drive. Even at low blood-alcohol levels, intoxication reduces reaction time and coordination. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, causing drivers to make foolish choices. At higher levels, alcohol causes blurred or double vision and even loss of consciousness.
Remember, drunk driving isn’t just a terrible idea â€“ it’s a crime. All 50 states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico now apply two statutory offenses to driving under the influence of alcohol. The first (and original) offense is known either as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI), or operating [a motor vehicle] while intoxicated/impaired (OWI). This is based upon a police officer’s observations (driving behavior, slurred speech, the results of a roadside sobriety test, etc.).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or cyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality.
If you’ve been drinking, ask a sober friend for a ride or call a cab. If you are planning to drink, always be sure you have a designated driver. The mild inconvenience of handing over your keys or taking a cab home is nothing compared to the disastrous consequences of driving drunk.
Never drive drunk and don’t allow friends to drive drunk. And if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an alcohol-related accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and get compensation for your injuries. If you think you have a claim contact our Seattle car accident attorneys for a free consultation. You obtain the best possible legal services at the time of your injury without having to pay money out of your pocket for legal services. No recovery means no attorney fee.