DRUNK DRIVER CAUSED AUTO ACCIDENT – MN ATTORNEYS’ SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES
- In one year, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. This is a huge cost to the families affected and society as a whole.
- Of the 1,149 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years, 200 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
- Of the 200 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, over half (121) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.
- Over 1.3 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s one percent of the 121 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
- Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.
Who is most at risk of being injured by a drunk driver in MN?
- At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people.
- Among drivers with BAC levels of 0.08 % or higher involved in fatal crashes in 2013, one out of every 3 were between 21 and 24 years of age (33%). The next two largest groups were ages 25 to 34 (29%) and 35 to 44 (24%).
- Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes in 2013, 27% had BACs of 0.08% or greater.
- Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40-44 have the highest percentage of deaths with BACs of 0.08% or greater (44%).
Drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions:
- Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were six times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were drivers with no alcohol in their system. (6% and 1%, respectively).
A Closer Look – Terminology
Traffic stops where law enforcement officers assess drivers’ level of alcohol impairment. These checkpoints consistently reduce alcohol-related crashes, typically by 9%.
Devices that are installed in the vehicles of people who have been convicted of driving while impaired. They prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a specified safe level (usually 0.02% – 0.04%). When installed, interlocks are associated with about a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving.
How can deaths and injuries from impaired driving be prevented?
Effective measures include:
- Actively enforcing existing 0.08% BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 years old in MN and all states.
- Promptly taking away the driver’s licenses of people who drive while intoxicated.
- Using sobriety checkpoints.
- Putting health promotion efforts into practice that influence economic, organizational, policy, and school/community action.
- Using community-based approaches to alcohol control and DWI prevention.
- Requiring mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment, if needed, for DWI offenders.
- Raising the unit price of alcohol by increasing taxes.
Areas for continued research:
- Reducing the illegal BAC threshold to 0.05%.
- Mandatory blood alcohol testing when traffic crashes result in injury.
The Rochlin Law Firm, Ltd. lawyers have successfully represented and fought for clients who have been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and the persons or bar that wrongfully served them. When our clients are injured in a drunk driver auto accident, our attorneys strongly believe that the drunk driver, and if necessary the bar, should be held accountable. Our top MN personal injury lawyers have considerable experience obtaining the necessary expert and investigative documentation to prove a case to sue the drunk driver and the irresponsible liquor establishment. If you have been injured because a MN drunk driver crossed the median and hit you head on, rear-ended you, or otherwise caused your accident – or one of your loved ones has been killed in a drunk driving car crash – please speak with a best MN attorney at our office for a free consultation. One of our experienced lawyers can meet with you to discuss your drunk driver car accident case at our offices in Minneapolis, Woodbury, and Edina. Our attorneys will also meet with you at your home if you have been hit by a drunk driver in St. Paul MN, Forest Lake, Lake Elmo, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Anoka MN, Plymouth, Rogers, Chanhassen, Chaska, Burnsville, Richfield, and other cities throughout Minnesota. Our top lawyers for a drunk driver car accident injury have more than 25 years’ experience successfully pursuing these and other accident cases throughout Minnesota.