Drunk-Driving, an Upsetting and Infuriating Preventable Cause of Accidents, Injuries and Deaths

It is surprising to know that between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the issue on the prohibition of alcoholic beverages was one issue hotly debated by two groups of people in America: the “dries” and the “wets.” The “dries,” who pushed for the banning of alcohol, citing public morals and health as the bases of their argument, claimed victory over the “wets” (the anti-prohibitionists), a victory that was translated into law known as the “Prohibition in the United States,” which remained in place from 1920 to 1933. The Prohibition actually forbade anyone from selling, producing, transporting or importing alcoholic beverages all across the nation; this was intended to put an end to many Americans’ excessive alcohol consumption, especially during the colonial era. While this constitutional ban did not totally eliminate the presence of alcohol in the land, it, nonetheless, succeeded in keeping overall alcohol consumption low.

But that was history. Today, Americans, 21 years old and above, can drink freely anytime, anywhere, except in the more than 200 counties, specifically those in the Bible Belt (a number of communities in the Southern US), which chose to keep the Prohibition in effect. Well, there probably is nothing wrong with drinking, so long as it is not excessive and, most of all, if one does not drive afterwards. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving®, MADD, it will take an average person about an hour to metabolize a standard drink, which can be a 12 ounce bottle of beer, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or 5 ounces of wine – all have the same amount of alcohol).

It is both upsetting and infuriating, though, for despite the anti-drunk driving law and the harsh penalties that await offenders, plus all the continuous ads and campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving, people still choose to get behind the wheel unmindful of the risk of accident they can cause due to impairment (by alcohol).

Impairment is the primary reason why drunk driving is prohibited. Being less sober, a person’s reflexes become slower. Besides this, impairment also affects a person’s general ability to focus on the road, judgment, perception, coordination and reaction time. Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is set at 0.08%, which means that anyone caught driving with this BAC level (or higher) can be charged with alcohol-impaired driving or DUI/DWI, driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated.

“There is simply no reason to drive drunk,” as it says on the website of law firm Spiros Law, P.C. This firm goes on to say that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CDC never fall short in reminding and advising people to take a cab, use public transportation or ask a friend to drive them home (leaving their vehicle securely locked instead) if they had drinks.

Because of the obstinacy of some people, however, drunk driving remains to be a major problem. According to the website of the San Diego personal injury attorneys at Ritter and Associates, in 2008, there were 13,838 alcohol-related fatal crashes; since then, the number of deaths due to this irresponsible road behavior has never gone down to 10,000+.

A victim of drunk driving suffers not only physical injuries and trauma resulting from the life-threatening experience. It is very likely that his or her family would also suffer financial hardship due to absence from work, thus, lost wages and the need to pay costly medical treatment. Situations become worse if the injury leads to disability as this will mean more wages lost and higher cost of medical care.

Victims of drunken driving accidents, as explained in the website of the Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, are entitled to seek compensation from the liable negligent, careless or irresponsible party. While there is no stopping victims from agreeing to a settlement with the liable party or from filing a lawsuit and facing the legal battle alone, these strategies can prove critical in their attempt to seeking compensation or receiving the maximum amount of compensation they are allowed (to seek and receive) under the law.

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