According to a 2019 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), three states led the U.S. with the highest drunk driving-related death tolls: Texas with 1,439 fatalities, California with 1,069 fatalities, and Florida with 814 fatalities.
Almost 30 people die each day in a drunk driving-related crash, according to the NHTSA. That statistic equates to one person every 50 minutes. The NHTSA also reports that males are far more likely to be involved in alcohol-related fatal accidents.
How Alcohol Affects a Driver
Alcohol reduces the function of the brain, which affects a driver’s ability to use strong reasoning, impairs their thinking, and impacts muscle coordination, according to the NHTSA. Alcohol significantly impacts a driver’s ability to react quickly to avoid a collision and can make them feel overly confident in their abilities, which is a dangerous combination.
When someone consumes alcohol, it is absorbed through the walls of the stomach and small intestine and then passed into the bloodstream. It accumulates there until it can be metabolized by the liver. A driver’s alcohol level is measured by the amount–or weight–of alcohol in the blood. This is referred to as someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and it plays a role in determining a driver’s sobriety whether they are in a state that has the most drunk driving accidents.
When a driver’s BAC is at 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, the likelihood of a crash increases exponentially, according to the NHTSA, especially if the driver is in a state that has the most drunk driving accidents. For this reason, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 in all 50 states.
A report that includes motor vehicle safety facts and impaired driving statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the symptoms of a person with a BAC of 0.02%. The driver, who has a BAC equivalent of about two alcoholic drinks, will experience:
- Loss of judgment to some extent
- Changed mood
- A decline in visual functions
- Reduced ability to perform two tasks simultaneously
With a BAC of 0.05%, or approximately three drinks, a driver will experience:
- Reduced coordination
- Trouble steering
- Reduced ability to react in an emergency driving situation
- Reduced ability to track objects that are moving
- Impaired judgment
- Lowered alertness
- Lowered inhibition
- Inability to focus your eyes
With four drinks, or a BAC of 0.08%, a driver will experience:
- Poor muscle coordination
- Poor concentration
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired perception
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty controlling speed
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Injuries that May Occur in Drunk Driving Accidents
While a drunk driving collision can cause a wide number of injuries, causing damage to virtually any part of the body, the following areas are particularly vulnerable:
- Legs and knees
Injuries to these parts of the body can cause:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The CDC reports that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a blow to the head that interrupts normal brain function. These injuries can range from mild, with perhaps a brief headache, to severe, where the victim may suffer from seizures or loss of cognitive function.
Blunt chest trauma, also known as thoracic trauma, accounts for up to 35% of trauma-related deaths in the United States (U.S.), according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. For patients who receive chest injuries in collisions, higher rates of death are associated with high speeds and a lack of seat belt use.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, as many as 17,000 new spinal cord injuries occur every year in the U.S. The majority of these spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents. More severe injuries can result in a complete loss of all function below the site of the injury, permanently altering the life of the patient.
Broken bones are common in an accident because of the force of impact, which causes the victim to hit the steering column or door violently. Broken bones can be serious depending on the nature of the injury, such as if the bone penetrates the skin or if it breaks into many pieces. These injuries are extremely painful and require lengthy healing periods.
Contact Morris Bart, LLC for a Free Review of Your Case
If you were hurt or someone you love was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have the right to hold that person responsible for your injuries and losses.
The team at the Morris Bart law firm is here to help regardless of the state in which your accident occurred. If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Mississippi, contact us today at (504) 613-4771 for a free, no-risk review of your case.
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