The dangers of impaired driving

Drunk driving continues to be a serious issue in Virginia and across the country.

Drunk driving is a serious issue both in Virginia and across the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 people die each day in auto accidents involving a driver under the influence of alcohol. In 2013, a little more than 10,076 people were killed in these crashes, representing nearly one-third of all traffic deaths nationwide. When it comes to children under the age of 14 who died in impaired driving-related accidents, approximately 60 percent were riding with a driver who was under the influence at the time of the crash.

Alcohol is not the only factor in impaired driving accidents, however. The CDC has also found that drugs like marijuana, cocaine and others are involved in roughly 18 percent of these fatal crashes, a number that includes people under the influence of both drugs and alcohol.

According to the CDC, young people are generally more at risk of being involved in drunk driving-related accidents. In 2013, about one-third of all individuals in fatal crashes with blood alcohol content levels above the legal limit of .08 percent are between the ages of 21 and 24. Individuals aged 25 to 34 and those 35 to 44 are more likely than other age groups to be involved in these types of fatal accidents, as well.

Virginia has strict criminal penalties for those convicted of DUI, and in 2012 passed a measure requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers, including those charged with a first offense. 

When a drunk driver causes an auto accident resulting in serious injuries or death to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians, it's important to note that there may be separate criminal and civil proceedings. It may be up to injured parties or the family members of the deceased to take legal action to seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, loss of financial support, pain and suffering and other damages.

If you or your loved ones are dealing with this difficult issue, it is important to explore your legal options by consulting with an experienced Roanoke personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Keywords: drunk driving, Virginia