Despite stiff criminal and civil penalties, education campaigns and high-visibility enforcement efforts, alcohol-associated traffic fatalities continue to rise in North Carolina and the United States.
In North Carolina, 402 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2012, the highest fatality rate in the last four years. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that approximately 10,000 people per year are killed in alcohol-associated accidents, and 10,322 lives were lost across the country last year, a rise of 4.6 percent from 2011.
Consider this recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Alcohol-associated accidents involve a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.
- The NHTSA estimates that one person was killed every 51 minutes in the United States as a result of an alcohol-related crash in 2012.
- Alcohol-related fatalities represented 31 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in 2012.
- Last year, 239 children were killed in alcohol-related collisions as passengers in a vehicle with a driver whose BAC was above .08 percent or as victims in a vehicle or bicycle accident involving a drunk driver.
- Last year, the rate of fatal drunk driving accidents occurring at night was four times the rate of fatal accidents occurring during the day. More fatal accidents occur on weekends.
- More male drivers than female drivers were involved in fatal drunk driving accidents last year, and most alcohol-related collisions involve people 21 to 24 years of age.
In May, the NTSB made recommendations to address the escalating rate of drunk driving fatalities in this country, which included lowering the legal BAC to .05 percent. The number of people killed and injured in the United States because of drunk driving is staggering and wholly preventable.
If you were injured by the negligence of a drunk driver in North Carolina, speak with skilled legal counsel about your case.