Many drivers believe that having a few drinks at dinner will not affect their driving. However, even drinking two beers in one hour can make a driver 1.4 times more likely to be involved in a car crash, and the likelihood of having a serious accident substantially increases as more alcohol is consumed.
Impaired Driving Statistics and Government Response
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2010, there were over 10,000 people killed around the country in automobile accidents that involved an impaired driver. In North Carolina that year, there were 388 people killed in alcohol-related accidents, up from 358 in 2009.
Research from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has found that:
- Drivers previously convicted of drunk driving are at a substantial risk of doing so again
- Less than one percent of alcohol-impaired drivers are actually arrested for driving under the influence
- Younger drivers are at a much higher risk of dying in alcohol-related accidents than older drivers who have the same level of blood alcohol content
The Department of Transportation's National Transportation Safety Board recently held a conference to discuss challenges associated with the prevention of impaired driving, as well as how to hold drivers accountable when they are caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Based on the CDC's findings, policies and recommendations have been set forth that are making a differences in states that adopt them. Some current measures that are in place that help prevent impaired driving include:
- Installation of ignition interlock systems on convicted drunk drivers' cars which prevents them from starting their vehicles when they have been drinking
- Checkpoints which allow law enforcement to get drunk drivers off the road before they have the opportunity to harm anyone
- Zero tolerance policies which help prevent underage drunk driving
Among other measures taken to reduce drunk driving accidents, North Carolina has adopted mandatory ignition interlock installation for repeat offenders and offenders with high blood alcohol content levels.
Know Your Rights
If you are injured by someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact a personal injury attorney experienced with car accidents. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.