Alcohol Impairment, the Reason behind One-third of All Fatal Road Crashes

Alcohol Impairment, the Reason behind One-third of All Fatal Road Crashes

Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2012, more than 29 million people admitted that, at various times, they drove t5hier car while impaired by alcohol. In 2013, an estimated 1.2 million drivers were arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), a serious traffic offense.

According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), about five million motor vehicle accidents occur every year. More than two million of these accidents result to injuries, while more than 30,000 are fatal.

The CDC also states that 31% (almost one-third) of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. involve an alcohol-impaired driver. To some drivers, alcohol-impairment occurs after consuming two regular bottles of beer, which will result to a 0.02% blood alcohol concentration or (BAC) level. Possible effects of a 0.02% BAC can include decline in visual functions and in ability to perform two tasks simultaneously. The BAC limit for car driver is 0.08%. Studies show that, at this level, a driver’s muscle coordination becomes poor; his/her judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory become impaired; and it becomes harder for him/her to detect danger.

Time and again, it has been proven that alcohol weakens an individual’s motor skills and mental capacity, rendering him/her less able to control his or her vehicle. This lesser ability means higher risk of accident which may injure or kill someone else – the basic reason why drunk driving is considered a major traffic offense.

Impairment due to alcohol affects not only car drivers, but truck drivers too. With the huge size of a truck, however, just imagine what sort of damage and injury it can cause if it were driven by an alcohol-impaired driver.

Due to the size of an 18-wheeler or a big rig, the BAC limit for truck drivers has been set at 0.04%. Despite this lower BAC level, however, and the punishments that will be imputed on violators, use of alcohol and drugs by truck drivers, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), is the second major reason behind truck accidents. No driver of smaller vehicle would probably consider that the driver sitting behind a truck’s wheel is alcohol-impaired. Yet, data show that, prior to accidents, many drivers were, indeed, intoxicated and impaired due to alcohol.

The 0.04% BAC limit, however, is not the only thing that big-rig drivers should worry about. Truck drivers who are found to have a 0.02% BAC can also be suspended from driving for about 24 hours, while those who will register a 0.08%, even when off-duty, may still be charged with a DUI.

According to the Houston car accident attorneys of Williams Kherkher law firm, the severity of the injuries sustained by victims in drunk-driving accidents usually leave them with costly medical bills and other expenses, and long-term disability that necessitate changes in their personal and family lives. Besides these, severe injuries also render victims incapable of reporting for work, resulting to lost wages which, in turn, can result to financial difficulties.

Worse, however, according to the Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group, is the effect of trucking accidents, which often result in severe injury or death as a result of the speeds and weights of the vehicles involved. Such injuries can result in significant medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and uncertainty as to how to proceed. To reduce this risk as much as possible, state and federal laws exist to help regulate the way trucking companies and their drivers operate in and out of the state.

Victims of car accidents, whether the other vehicle involved is another car or a truck, should not hesitate consulting with a car accident or personal injury lawyer, who will be able to help them understand their legal rights and may be able to provide them the strong legal representation they need in a claims lawsuit. Victims should know that they not only have the right to pursue legal action, but to seek compensation from the at-fault driver or from the company that he/she works for (if the other vehicle is used for business purposes).