Causes of Car Accidents: Drunk Driving in Virginia

As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 9,158 fatal traffic crashes and 10,076 people killed in the U.S. in 2013 as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. In Virginia alone, 253 people died and 5,288 were injured in alcohol-related crashes, according to the Highway Safety Office’s 2013 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts. Statewide in 2013, 20,973 people were tested with blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher,

Based on Virginia statistics, drunk driving was a contributing factor in more than 34% of the state’s traffic fatalities in 2013. Although alcohol-related fatalities decreased slightly nationwide from 2012 to 2013, overall traffic fatalities also decreased slightly and drunk driving remained a leading cause of traffic deaths, accounting for 31% of U.S. traffic fatalities in 2013.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the national cost of alcohol-related traffic accidents is more than $59 billion per year.

Crash Risks of Drunk Driving

NHTSA recently released a fact sheet based on a drug and alcohol crash risk study conducted in Virginia Beach, Virginia over a 20-month period. Researchers collected data from more than 3,000 drivers who were involved in automobile accidents, and as a comparison, from more than 6,000 drivers who were not involved in accidents.

The study concluded that drivers who breath-tested at the legal BAC limit of .08% were approximately 4 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than sober drivers. Drivers with a higher BAC of .15% were determined to be 12 times more likely to crash than sober drivers. The study also concluded that marijuana users were approximately 25 times more likely to crash than non-users.

How Many People Drive Drunk?

Mothers against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reports the following alarming facts concerning drunk driving in the U.S.:

  • Every day nearly 300,000 incidents of drunk driving occur, although fewer than 4,000 drivers are arrested.
  • Approximately one-third of the drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders.
  • In 2011, more than 1.2 million people were arrested for drunk driving.
  • 32% of the drunk drivers killed in fatal crashes in 2011 were 21 to 24 years of age, 30% were 25 to 34 year of age, and 24% were ages 35 to 44. A total of 86% of drunk drivers killed in traffic crashes in 2011 were under the age of 45.

Legal Help for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law, and drunk drivers who cause accidents will likely face criminal penalties. That does not cover your medical expenses or lost wages, however, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver.

When you work with Marks & Harrison, our experienced Richmond car accident attorney can investigate your accident, deal with insurance companies on your behalf, and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive. Our firm has the knowledge, skills, resources, and track record of success that you need in a personal injury lawyer. Call us today or use our online form to request a free case consultation.