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The facts about driving while impaired

Arizona residents may not be aware of the facts about impaired driving in the United States. The problem is big; in 2012, 10,322 individuals were fatally wounded in alcohol-related impaired driving accidents. That number accounts for almost 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities nationwide. Impaired driving accidents in 2012 accounted for 20 percent of traffic-related fatalities among children ages zero to fourteen.

Almost 30 individuals in the United Stated die every day in car accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver, amounting to one death every 51 minutes. Drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are involved in around 18 percent of traffic-related fatalities; often, drugs are used in combination with alcohol. Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. The average annual cost of impairment-related car accidents is over $59 billion.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that young people, motorcyclists and drivers who have prior driving while impaired convictions are the most at risk of being involved in an impaired driving-related accident. Statistics taken in 2012 revealed that among drivers involved in accident fatalities who had blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or higher, one out of every three were between ages 21 and 24. Among motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents the same year, 29 percent had blood alcohol levels .08 percent or higher. The study also showed that drivers who had a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or greater who were involved in fatal traffic accidents were seven times more likely to have a former DWI conviction than drivers who had no alcohol in their system.

Whenever a car accident involves driver impairment, serious injuries or fatalities can occur. If any injured parties or family members of the victims choose to hire a personal injury lawyer, the other party may be deemed responsible and ordered to pay compensation for damages that occurred.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", December 17, 2014

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