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It's an alarming statistic, but unfortunately it's also a familiar one. Every 24 hours in the United States, 28 people die in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. That works out to be one person every 53 minutes. While the overall rate of drunk driving fatalities is down 33% in the past three decades, we Americans still have a one in three risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash in the course of our lifetimes. These accidents can result in catastrophic personal injury and death.
Statistics can't do justice to the suffering, pain and overwhelming loss experienced by the victims of drunk drivers and the families of those victims. As Richmond drunk driving accident attorneys, we've represented individuals severely injured by drunk drivers as well as people who have lost family members as a result of drunk drivers. Such overwhelming losses will impact the victims and their families for their entire lives.
From an economic standpoint, drunk driving affects all of us. In the United States, the economic impact from deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving costs our country $52 billion per year. That cost, along with the cost of other accidents, raises insurance premiums for every consumer.
With all of this in mind, we offer some proactive steps that you can take to help prevent drunk driving.
- If you're going to a party, bar, restaurant, concert, festival or other event where alcohol will be served, choose a designated, sober driver before arriving at the event. This helps to ensure that you will have a safe, sober ride home.
- If that designated driver doesn't keep his or her promise to stay sober, arrange another ride home. Ask another friend or family member, call a taxi, walk, take public transportation or arrange an Uber or Lyft ride.
- Proactively prevent intoxicated people from driving by taking their keys and arranging another ride home for them. They may be mad at you in the moment, but preventing someone from potentially injuring himself or others in an alcohol-related car crash is far more important.
- When hosting a party, be sure to offer a selection of non-alcoholic beverages for your guests. Soda, juice, water, coffee and tea are good choices. You can even get creative by making "mocktails" without the added alcohol – providing guests with delicious, non-alcoholic alternatives.
- If you're throwing the party, be sure to serve ample food. Having plentiful appetizers or a filling main course for your guests to enjoy will help to mitigate the effects of alcoholic beverages they drink.
- In every setting, but especially if you're the host, be aware of your friends' alcohol intake and notice any subsequent altered behavior. Be prepared with alternative transportation options if you see that a friend is inebriated, or offer him your sofa where he can spend the night safely until he sobers up.
- Never buy alcohol for, or serve alcohol to, minors under the age of 21.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the average drunk driver has driven under the influence of alcohol more than 80 times before his or her first arrest. The MMWR also estimates from recent surveys that 4.2 million U.S. adults drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past month.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. As Richmond drunk driving accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, we urge you to always designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation when you've been drinking to avoid the potentially life-threatening results of driving drunk. And if you or a loved one is in a drunk driving crash, we urge you to call right away to determine the next steps.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.