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NHTSA on the epidemic of drunk driving

Pennsylvania drivers should know to never head out when drunk. Alcohol can impair one’s judgment, reaction times and memory, all of which are necessary in driving. With a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the point at which one is considered legally drunk, a driver may find self-control difficult, miss dangers on the road and suffer from hearing impairment. With even a blood alcohol concentration of .02, though, one may experience drowsiness and loss of judgment.

Drunk driving leads to crashes, many of them fatal. Though the number of such fatalities has declined in the past 30 years, it remains startlingly high. From 2006 to 2017, the annual number of drunk driving fatalities has exceeded 10,000 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2017, there were 10,874 drunk driving deaths. Forty-two percent of the drivers involved in these fatal crashes were between 16 and 24 years old.

Motorcyclists, though involved in relatively fewer drunk driving crashes, actually see a higher rate of fatal drunk driving crashes. In 2017, 4,885 motorcyclists died, 1,357 of whom were found to be drunk at the time of the crash.

To prevent drunk driving, NHTSA recommends the expanded use of ignition interlock systems. These measure drivers’ blood alcohol content from their breath, barring drivers from starting the car if they are drunk.

When car accidents arise because of drunk driving, those who are harmed and are deemed less than 51% at fault may be able to recover damages through a personal injury claim. Of course, negotiating for a settlement or taking the case to court is another matter, so victims may want a lawyer to speak on their behalf. Personal injury lawyers may have a network of professionals to gather proof against the defendant. This might include the breath test results and any physical evidence from the crash site.

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