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How often do drunk drivers cause fatal accidents?


Being involved in a car accident is and unfortunate and undesirable event; however, individuals in West Virginia cannot always evade being struck by a negligent driver. This is especially true if an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, striking another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian, and fatally injuring them. Because drunk driving accidents could cause tragic aftermaths, it is important to understand the seriousness of these types of car collisions.

How often do drunk drivers cause fatal accidents in West Virginia? According to statistics reported by the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration of West Virginia, out of the 332 fatal crashes occurring in 2013, 122 involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 percent or higher. Additionally, of those 332 fatal crashes, 100 involved drivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.

Fatal drunk driving accidents involving a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher occurred in roughly 30 percent of the fatal accidents that occurred in the state during 2013. When compared to the national average, which is 35 percent, this is lower; however the lowest state statistic that year was 22 percent. While this percentage is higher than other states, the number of fatal drunk driving accidents with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher has reduced over the years. In 2009, this percentage was 34 in the state of West Virginia.

What do these statistics say about drunk driving in the state of West Virginia? While the average is below the national average, the rate is still concerning. Despite that, the rate have decreased from 2009 to 2013, which is promising for reducing future fatal drunk driving accidents.

While efforts are implemented to raise awareness about drunk driving accidents and to reduce the occurrence of these collisions, these types of accidents unfortunately still occur. Because of this, it is important that family members who have lost a loved one in a fatal drunk driving accident are aware of the options available to them.

If a drunk driver is at fault in a fatal accident, the driver could be held responsible for the damages and losses caused by the accident. A wrongful death claim could help loved ones pursue compensation to cover expenses related to the incident.

Source: abca.wv.gov, "Safety Stats," accessed Aug. 10, 2015

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