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The reality of drunk driving's devastation and pain

Drunk driving is a reality on roads across the nation. Although a lot of progress has been made to reduce drunk driving fatalities, it is still estimated that in 2013 nearly 7000 deaths could have been prevented if drivers with illegal blood alcohol levels were kept off the roads. All states, including Tennessee, have passed laws that make driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater illegal in an attempt to eliminate the devastation and pain caused by DUI accidents.

Research has proved that when a person has a BAC of 0.05 percent his or her chances of being involved in a fatal crash increase significantly. When BAC levels are 0.08 percent, this chance increases exponentially. Statistics show that approximately 33 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in accidents in 2013 had BACs of 0.08 percent or greater. The chance of fatal injury increases to 25 percent for drivers with BACs of 0.15 percent or greater, while 17 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers had BACs of 0.15 percent or greater.

Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to drive when their BACs are 0.08 percent or greater, and the highest percentage of male DUI drivers are between 21 and 40 years old.  Although there were fewer DUI drivers younger than 21 who were fatally injured in accidents than drivers between 21 and 30, the chance of a crash in circumstances in which the BAC of a driver younger than 21 years old is between 0.05 and 0.08 percent is a lot higher. The aforementioned statistics leave no doubt that drunk driving kills.

Tennessee families whose lives have been devastated by the negligent actions of drunk drivers may find a sense of justice through the courts. Separately from the criminal charge a DUI driver may have to face, the relatives of a seriously injured or deceased victim of a drunk driving accident may file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in order to seek compensation for damages resulting from the car wreck. Damages awarded may assist the family of the deceased to better cope with unexpected expenses, such as funeral and burial costs.

Source: iihs.org, "Alcohol-impaired driving", Accessed on March 1, 2015

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