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Drunk driving takes a toll on U.S. and North Carolina citizens

Drinking and driving should be a major concern for the people of North Carolina. The consequences of drunk driving are life-changing and expensive due to arrests, injuries, property damage and occasionally, loss of life.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that three people are killed every two hours in alcohol-related car accidents in the United States. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 402 North Carolina citizens died in drunk driving crashes in 2012, and 45 of those victims were under 21 years of age. Those deaths represent 31 percent of all traffic fatalities for that year.

Luckily, efforts to increase drunk driving awareness and Zero Tolerance Laws, which are enforced in this state, have helped reduce alcohol-related accidents and fatalities over the years. In 1990, drunk driving deaths accounted for 50.6 percent of all traffic fatalities, but that number had dropped to 42 percent by 2009. Also helping reduce deaths was the decision by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to enact a .08 percent blood alcohol limit for drivers. In 1990, only two states required that limit.

In 2010, alcohol consumption reportedly lead to 2,020 pedestrian deaths nationwide. Drunk driving also took the lives of 11,087 vehicle passengers and 209 bicyclists. Even on the water, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 154 alcohol-related fatalities involving recreational boaters in 2010.

While the number of drinking and driving accidents and fatalities have decreased in recent years, it is still a significant problem in the U.S. and in North Carolina. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one due to drunk driving may wish to meet with a lawyer to explore their legal options for compensation.

Source: MADD, 'North Carolina"

Source: United States Department of Transportation , "Drunk Driving by the Numbers", Matthew Chambers, Mindy Liu, and Chip Moore, October 10, 2014

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