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Accidents caused by impaired driving

Drivers who get behind the wheel while they are impaired by alcohol or drugs create a serious hazard for people who they share the roads with in North Carolina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 people are killed each day around the country in car accidents that involve a drunk driver. In a further showing of the magnitude of the problem, statistics from 2012 showed that almost one-third of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States that year involved an alcohol-impaired driver, and many of them were ages 14 and younger who were passengers in the vehicle with the impaired driver.

The CDC says that fatal drinking and driving accidents often involve young drivers. Data from 2012 showed that one-third of all drivers with a .08 percent BAC level or higher who were involved in a fatal accident were between the ages of 21 and 24. Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 with that BAC level or above were involved in 27 percent of the fatal drunk driving accidents that year.

There are a few safety measures that the CDC says could help to lower the number of drunk driving accidents. One of these measures is to actively enforce existing drunk driving laws, which include a zero tolerance policy for drivers who are younger than 21 years old. The CDC also recommends using sobriety checkpoints on roads and requiring convicted drunk drivers to go through substance abuse treatment programs.

A motor vehicle accident victim who was injured as a direct result of an impaired driver's actions may file a personal injury complaint against the driver. Such a lawsuit can go forward regardless of whether criminal charges were lodged against the driver. The compensation sought can include lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", accessed on Jan. 24, 2015

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