In the United States, someone dies once every 51 minutes as a result of a motorist who got behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol. Personal injury lawyers knows the economic and non-economic costs of drunk driving accidents total in the billions nationwide. A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrates the tremendous costs of impaired driving.
What are the Consequences of Impaired Driving?
When someone suffers a permanent injury or when loved one has a family member die in a collision with a drunk driver, there is nothing that can ever compensate for the losses. Still, the NHTSA has measured the economic costs of impaired driving. According to a report published in 2014 that measured costs in 2010:
- Drunk driving cost $47 billion in direct economic costs, such as the costs of medical expenditures and loss of income or earning potential. This is a total of $152 per person within the country.
- Drunk driving cost around $195 billion over the course of 2010 when also adding in loss of quality of life, or loss of life.
- A minor injury caused by a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 cost around $22,000 with an additional $25,000 in losses related to a decline in the quality of life.
- When a critical injury caused by a drunk driver occurred, the economic cost exceeded $1.1 million and the lost quality of life was measured at around $5 million for the catastrophic injury.
Drunk drivers themselves can be hurt or killed in collisions, but often it is other people who suffer the effects of impaired driving. For example, around 35 percent of people who are killed in collisions attributed to impaired driving were not themselves drunk at the time. These victims included bicycle riders, pedestrians and other non-occupants, as well as people in other motor vehicles or passengers in the intoxicated person's car.
More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year because of intoxicated driving, so this is a significant number of people who are killed. In Florida alone, there were 697 deaths in 2012 according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Drivers need to be aware of just how devastating intoxicated driving can be. The NHTSA organizes a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign annually that includes education and enforcement. This year, the campaign ran from August 15 through the Labor Day holiday weekend. Although the campaign is over, the need for understanding the risks of intoxicated driving is far from at an end. Motorists must learn about the risks that impaired driving causes to themselves and to others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a chart that shows how impairment affects driving ability. Even a BAC of .02 can result in a decline in visual function, difficulty multitasking and impaired judgment. The risks are too great and the costs too high when driving drunk, so just skip the drinks if you are getting behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit http://www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights with a West Palm Beach injury lawyer. Serving Palm Beach County and all of South Florida.