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How big of a problem is impaired driving?


With the holidays around the corner, most West Virginia residents are probably planning and preparing for gatherings and holiday events. While winter holidays are considered a joyous time of the year, it is also a time when motorists need to use extra caution. Traffic on the roadways increases as individuals and families travel within or into the state. While an increase in vehicles on the roads often means an increase in possible accidents, this time of year also means an increase in intoxicated drivers on the roads.

How big of a problem is impaired driving? Drunk driving is not only a concern around the holidays. It is still a significant cause of serious and fatal accident throughout the rest of the year as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 30 people die every day in the United States in an alcohol-related accident.

Based on the most recent statistical report, a total of 10,076 individuals were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2013. This number accounts for almost one-third of all traffic fatalities occurring in the United States. That year, there were 1,149 traffic fatalities of victims between the ages of 0 and 14. Of those, 200, or 17 percent, were alcohol-related fatal accidents. Moreover, of those 200 child passengers who died in an alcohol related accident, over half were riding in the vehicle of the impaired driver.

Drunk driving is considered a very dangerous and negligent act. It is important for drivers not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming a quantity of alcohol that would put them over the legal limit. Failure to uphold the duty to drive safe and not under the influence is considered reckless, and a negligent driver could be held accountable.

Source: Cdc.gov, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts," accessed Dec. 14, 2015

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