Prevalence of drunk driving fatalities in California

In addition to causing hundreds of deaths each year in California, drunk driving also causes suffering and financial repercussions for families of victims.

Recently, a drunk driving crash in the San Diego area claimed the life of a passenger. According to Fox5, the victim was found in a vehicle that was sitting in two lanes of traffic after a rollover. The rollover occurred after the vehicle drove up an embankment on the side of a freeway. Authorities state that criminal charges will be filed against the driver.

Sadly, fatal accidents caused by intoxicated drivers are not uncommon. The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that alcohol-involved collisions in California caused 802 deaths during the year 2012. Additionally, the same data indicates that drunk driving accounted for 28 percent of total driving fatalities in the state.

A big problem

While California has a prevalent issue with fatal drunk driving accidents, its numbers are lower than the national rate of 31 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 over 10,000 people in the U.S. died in accidents involving alcohol. The CDC also points out that this splits into an average of 30 deaths every day.

To combat the problem, the federal government and states have taken measures to discourage drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving states that here in California, lawmakers have given law enforcement agencies the power to conduct sobriety checkpoints and drivers can lose their license if they fail a chemical test or even refuse to take one. Prior convictions for drunk driving can lead to a felony charge and in the event that someone is killed in an accident, all drivers involved must be given a blood alcohol content test.

Recognizing common signs of drunk driving

The risk of being involved in an accident while driving cannot be completely eliminated. However, California drivers can learn to identify other drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol. Such drivers often engage in the following behaviors:

  • Tailgating
  • Making illegal or abrupt turns
  • Swerving unexpectedly
  • Rapidly decelerating and accelerating for no apparent reason
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Nearly running into objects or people

If drivers see a motorist exhibiting such behaviors, the first thing they should do is put more space between themselves and that driver. The next thing they should do is contact law enforcement to report the suspicious behavior. Law enforcement can then address the situation and determine whether the driver is under the influence of something, thereby preventing a potentially fatal collision from occurring.

Seeking compensation

For the families of drunk driving victims, the pain and suffering associated with losing a loved one is often compounded with financial challenges. These challenges may include unexpected medical bills, funeral costs and loss of future income. Drunk driving victims and families have the legal right to seek appropriate compensation. In such cases, it may be a good idea for them to discuss the situation with a personal injury attorney.

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