Every year, an estimated 11,000 people are killed across the United States by drunk drivers, with about a third of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in New York involving drunk driving as a factor. This makes it one of the primary causes of motor vehicle fatalities, as well as other injuries from auto accidents. Here are five things you need to know about drunk driving accidents:
- Even a little intoxication can be a big problem
- While the legal limit for driving under the influence (DUI) is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08, people can start experiencing the effects of intoxication as low as .02 BAC. This means that even one drink can be enough to cause impairment, potentially increasing the risk of an accident. While that may not be enough for a criminal conviction, it can potentially be enough for a civil case.
- Impaired drivers make bad decisions
- One of the reasons that drunk drivers are so likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents is that alcohol causes impaired judgment. This causes them to engage in reckless behavior they wouldn’t do if they were sober, or causes them to misjudge when it is safe to do things like change lanes, make turns, or accelerate. This bad judgment leads to otherwise avoidable accidents, resulting in unnecessary injuries and death.
- Impaired drivers have bad reflexes
- Another reason that drunk drivers are dangerous is that they are physically unable to react as quickly while under the influence of alcohol. Drivers encounter situations that could result in accidents all the time, but when they are sober, they can often avoid those accidents by braking or maneuvering out of the way. However, even when they are trying to be attentive, drunk drivers simply react more slowly, sometimes resulting in them getting into an accident before they realize they should be slowing down or getting out of the way.
- Young people are more likely to be involved in drunk driving
- Young drivers, especially teenage drivers, are by far the most likely to be killed in a drunk driving accident, compared to other age groups. This is often because these drivers are more likely to drink and drive, leading to them getting into fatal accidents. In fact, according to the CDC, as much as 15% of drivers aged 15-20 killed in motor vehicle accidents had a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Drunk drivers are less likely to be hurt than their victims
- Despite their reckless and dangerous behavior, drunk drivers are actually more likely to survive the accidents they cause than their sober victims. This is because alcohol causes the body to relax, allowing them to more easily follow the path of least resistance when they get into an accident, limiting the amount of harm they sustain as a result. Their victims, unfortunately, are usually less lucky, and can sustain serious and potentially life-threatening injuries as a result.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek out the personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates. Our seasoned New York personal injury attorneys bring more than two decades of trial experience to your case. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys always demand maximum compensation. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts. To schedule a consultation, you can visit our contact page.