There is really no surprise that intoxicated driving is still a recurring problem within the realm of transportation in the United States. Despite the prevailing laws that prohibit motorists from driving a vehicle while exceeding the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/DL), thousands of deaths and injuries still occur every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 10,322 alcohol-related vehicle crash deaths were recorded in 2012. This figure represented 31 percent of all traffic fatalities that year, which was at 33,561. Also, the 10,322 deaths that occurred that year was a nearly 5 percent increase from the previous year, which was at 9,865 in 2011.
In 2012, a single death as a result of an alcohol-related accident on the road occurred every 51 minutes. Yet despite the increase in 2012, driving-age teen deaths were alcohol was involved decreased by 15 percent. But what makes alcohol-impaired driving even more deadly is the fact that other innocent people’s lives are lost because of committing such a crime. In fact, every year, 35 percent of fatalities involved passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and even pedestrians.
Moreover, alcohol-related driving accidents and the resulting injuries and deaths can have disastrous consequences, creating a tremendous impact financially. An NHTSA report released last May entitled “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010” revealed how such a deadly accident can be very costly and much burdensome not just for the victims, but for their family members as well.
Using the 2010 data as the focal point of the study, the report revealed that alcohol-impaired driving crashes cost the whole U.S. some $47 billion in direct economic impacts, or an average of $152 per American. When the quality of life is lost and life itself is taken into account, then the figure would balloon to $195 billion.
Also worth noting is the fact that the cost of an injury sustained following an accident and additional losses tend to increase depending on the severity of the injury incurred. For instance, a minor injury would cost around $22,000.00. Add in the losses in relation to one’s quality of life and the cost would reach higher than $25,000.00. A serious injury, meanwhile, would cost $1.1 million; add in the loss of one’s quality of life and it would amount to almost $5 million.
Indeed, driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. Every car accident attorney in Los Angeles is aware of how these incidents have claimed lives or seriously injured people, affecting them and their families financially and even socially. Fortunately, efforts have been made by road safety advocates and law enforcement agencies to crack down on drivers with higher BAC levels, thus preventing incidents of drunk driving in the U.S.