Drunk driving causes many tragedies across the United States every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 147 million alcohol-impaired drivers were on the road in 2018. With this terrifying number in mind, reform, such as lowering the legal drunk-driving limit, may be necessary to reduce injuries and fatalities from irresponsible behavior.
This blog explores the reasoning behind lowering the legal limit for drunk driving and whether these reform measures may be effective. If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident, contact Catalano Law. We help victims of drunk driving accidents seek maximum compensation for their damages and debilitating injuries.
How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect a Driver?
Alcohol consumption can severely diminish a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. The effects of alcohol on a driver include:
- Impaired judgment
- Lowered inhibitions, leading to risk-taking and bad decision-making
- Slowed reaction
- Blurred vision
- Lack of coordination
These effects on drivers’ physiology and consciousness make alcohol one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports drunk driving accidents increased by 14% in 2020. With an average of 32 drunk driving deaths happening every day, rethinking drivers’ allowable blood alcohol content may be one way to bring this number down.
What the Drunk Driving Statistics Show
The NHTSA states that in a single year, $44 billion in damages, including injuries, result from drunk driving accidents where the at-fault driver had a BAC of 0.08 or greater. When looking at auto accidents that resulted in property damage, injuries, or death, and summing up the total economic cost of these crashes (in medical bills, emergency services, workplace losses, and so on), alcohol contributed to 22% of these losses.
Research on Lowering Drunk Driving Legal Limit
In 2018, Utah adopted a state-wide lower blood alcohol content limit of .05. The NHTSA reported that Utah’s lowered blood alcohol content limit reduced auto accident fatalities by 19.8% in 2019.
The reduction in fatalities observed in Utah after reducing the legal BAC limit to 0.05 provides a solid argument for expanding this measure across the country, including New York. According to the National Safety Council, if a person’s blood alcohol content reaches .05, their crash risk increases by 40%.
Drivers with a BAC of between .05 and .079 are 7 times more likely to be in a collision than sober drivers, adding more validity to calls for alcohol limit reductions.
Reducing Drunk Driving Accidents
Besides voting to reduce the drunk driving legal limit, there are things conscientious drivers can do to reduce motor vehicle accidents. Assigning a designated driver when a group of people goes bar-hopping is at the top of the list. Another option is using a ride-sharing service like Uber.
Some car manufacturers may begin equipping their newer models with breathalyzer devices that check drivers’ BACs before the vehicle is set in motion. These systems are known as ignition interlock devices. They are already in use today for some people convicted of DWI and are expected to gain traction as potentially mandatory safety equipment with regulators and drunk driving victim advocates.
What to Do Following a Drunk Driving Accident
Your health is the first and most important thing you should look after immediately following a drunk driving collision. As soon as possible, contact law enforcement authorities to document the incident. Keep all medical records and police reports from your accident to help you navigate the personal injury claims process that will follow.
After you receive first aid treatment for your injuries and are cleared by a medical professional, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The Syracuse drunk driving crash injury lawyers at Catalano Law can examine your case and help you decide the best path to take moving forward.
In many cases, drunk driving accident victims may need to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver, as injuries are often severe and more costly than the victim’s PIP insurance will cover. We can help you accomplish this through the driver’s insurance company or the New York court system.
If recovering compensation means going to trial, a personal injury attorney can gather all evidence that proves your claim, including medical records and exams, first responder reports, and witness testimony.
Drunk driving accidents can potentially destroy lives and families. Seeking full compensation for your injuries is vital for getting on with your life.
Contact Catalano Law today to speak with a knowledgeable drunk driving attorney. We work with drunk driving accident victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay a dime in legal fees unless we win your case.