December is National Impaired Driving Awareness Month

December 8th, 2015 by Attorney Julie Butcher

By proclamation signed by President Obama in 2011, December has been set aside as the month when we should be aware of, and prevent, impaired driving due to alcohol use, drug use and distractions. If these were problems we face only in December, we would be in much better shape — but these kinds of dangerous drivers injure and kill people every day. If you or your family member have serious injuries caused by an impaired driver, we may be able to help.

Each year, thousands of Americans are killed and injured by impaired drivers. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • On average, every day in the U.S. nearly thirty people are killed in motor vehicle or truck crashes involving an alcohol impaired driver, which works out to be one death every 51 minutes.
  • 10,076 people died in alcohol-related vehicle accidents in 2013, accounting for nearly a third (31%) of all traffic accident deaths in the country.
  • An estimated 10.9% of the population, or about 28.7 million people, drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in 2013.

The Kentucky State Police reports the following for the year 2014:

  • There were 4,334 alcohol-related vehicle accidents in the state, causing 156 deaths and 2,067 injuries (341 of them incapacitating).
  • Alcohol use is ranked as eighth in a list of human errors causing accidents in the state.
  • In Fayette County there were 472 alcohol-related accidents, causing 11 deaths and 161 injuries.

Drugged driving is another cause of thousands of injuries and deaths. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse:

  • A 2013 driver survey estimates 9.9 million people 12 years old or older (3.8% percent of teens and adults) drove under the influence of illegal drugs in 2012.
  • 18% of drivers killed in vehicle accidents tested positive for at least one drug in 2009, up from 13% percent in 2005.
  • The results of a 2010 study stated that 11.4% of fatal crashes involved a drugged driver, resulting in 4,782 deaths, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Kentucky State Police found that in 2014 there were 1,404 vehicle accidents statewide in which a driver was suspected of being under the influence of drugs. These accidents caused 571 injuries and 37 deaths. In Fayette County, an estimated 77 accidents were related to drugged drivers, killing 11 and injuring 38.

If a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs injures or kills another person, that driver can be held legally responsible for injuries, property damage and economic losses caused by the accident, and he or she may also have to face criminal charges.

If you have been injured or your loved one was killed by a drunk or drugged driver, contact our office so we can talk about what happened, the applicable laws and your best options for seeking compensation. Trying to resolve a case yourself with an insurance company could result in a lower settlement for you and your family. There are limited time frames to file a legal action, so contact us today.