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How serious is impaired driving in Virginia?


Despite ongoing awareness and education campaigns, drunk and drugged driving continue to be serious problems in Virginia.

For many decades now, campaigns against drunk driving or drugged driving have been launched nationally as well as at the state or regional level. Despite all of this, Virginia residents must still face the continual risk of being involved in an accident caused by an impaired driver. A look at some statistics makes it all too clear just how much of a problem drunk driving is in Virginia.

Drunk driving fatalities in Virginia

The impact of alcohol in vehicular accidents within Virginia has remained relatively consistent over a five-year period. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records from 2010 to 2014 break down the number of vehicular fatalities that were attributed to alcohol. They are shown as follows:

  • In 2010, 207 out of 740 total traffic fatalities
  • In 2011, 228 out of 764
  • In 2012, 209 out of 776
  • In 2013, 263 out of 740
  • In 2014, 214 out of 703

In Roanoke County, there were a total of 41 deaths in motor vehicle accidents during that same five-year span. Of those, seven involved the use of alcohol.

Drunk driving injuries in Virginia

Not only are hundreds of people killed every year in drunk driving crashes, but thousands of people are left injured. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data from 2010 to 2014 shows that the number of injured victims has also remained relatively constant. In 2010, 5,578 people were injured, 2011 shows 5,465 people, 2012 documents 5,861, 2013 reported 5,288 and in 2014 the number went down a bit further to 5,003.

These numbers represent anywhere from 7.9 to 9.1 percent of all motor vehicle accident injuries each year.

Drunk driving convictions in Virginia

The DMV records also track the number of people convicted of DUI offenses each year and their average blood alcohol content levels. The number of convictions has actually dropped between 2010 when 29,063 people were convicted of DUI offenses and 2014 when 24,895 people were found guilty. Before 2014, the DMV records included convictions that happened outside of Virginia. Starting in 2014, only convictions in Virginia were tracked.

During the five years from 2010 to 2014, the average BAC level of convicted drivers ranged from 0.1393 to 0.1425 percent. These levels are well beyond the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

What should accident victims do?

Clearly drivers are continuing to make the dangerous choice to get behind the wheel of vehicles after drinking too much. Because all accidents sadly cannot be avoided, getting assistance in seeking compensation becomes even more important. Accident victims or their family members who have been injured through no fault of their own should contact Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law for help in getting the full and fair compensation they deserve.