Drinking may be legal in the United States for people 21 and older, but driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or any other drug is not. Even though it is an undoubtedly dangerous and life-threatening decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking enough to raise your blood alcohol content past the legal limit of .08, more than 1.1 million people were arrested in 2014 for doing exactly that according to the FBI.
Those arrests only make up a fraction of the total number of people who drive under the influence in the United States each year. According to the United Sates Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 28.7 million people drove under the influence in 2013. Because these numbers are based on anonymous self-reporting statistics, they could very well be even higher than 9 percent of the population. What we do know for sure is just how dangerous driving while intoxicated can be.
Nearly 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2014 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), enough to account for almost a third of all traffic-related deaths that year in the United States. Among those 10,000 or so people killed, 209 of them were children ages 14 and younger, and more than half of them were in the intoxicated driver’s car. 30 percent of these intoxicated drivers killed in car crashes were between the ages of 21 and 24, and another 53 percent were between the ages of 25 and 44.
When you factor in crashes where the driver had any trace of alcohol in their system and not just drivers above the legal limit the number jumps to nearly 12,000 in 2014. New York is near the top of that list at the sixth deadliest spot with 317 fatalities involving drivers above the legal limit, and 379 fatalities involving drivers with any trace of alcohol in their system. Only California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania account for more deaths.
Law enforcement officials are constantly working towards completely removing intoxicated drivers from the roads, and while that number has decreased fairly consistently over the past decade, the number is still too high. These drivers not only put themselves and their passengers at risk, they put the lives of everyone sharing the road with them at risk.
If you were involved in a car accident caused by a drunk or intoxicated driver, you may be able to seek compensation for any property damage, medical bills, or other damages you may incur from the crash. Our New York car accident attorneys at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. have been representing accident victims since 1983, and have successfully recovered more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients since our doors first opened. Call us today at (212) 577-9325 to speak with one of our car accident lawyers, or fill out the form on our website to tell us more about your case.