Our North Carolina car accident lawyers know that during any time of year, drinking and driving is a serious issue that claims thousands of lives each year. The holiday season is no exception. In fact, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations only add to the number of drivers who will get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
In 2008, more than 11,770 motorists were killed in drunk-driving car accidents where at least one driver had a BAC of .08 or higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol plays a role in nearly one-third of all fatal car accidents annually, costing Americans more than $230 billion. On average, every 45 minutes someone is killed due to a drunk-driving crash.
Men are far more likely than women to drink and drive, and drivers aged 65 or older are only slightly more likely to have driven while intoxicated than 21 to 24 year olds. Men aged 21 to 24 also admit to being far more likely to have ridden with an intoxicated driver than any other age group. Four out of 10 drivers surveyed by the NHTSA said they felt it would be safe for them to drive after having consumed 3-5 drinks within a two-hour period before getting behind the wheel. With that said, 85 percent of women and 76 percent of men say that drinking and driving is a “major threat”.
In 2008, North Carolina alone reported 9,723 alcohol-related car accidents that claimed 227 lives and left 5,005 injured, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reports. Of those, more than 5,575 crashes occurred in rural areas and more than 4,170 happened in urban settings. Drugs played a role in another 843 car accidents, killing 17 and injuring 455.
In an effort to crackdown on drunk driving offenders who are involved in fatal North Carolina car accidents, prosecutors are increasing pursuit of second-degree murder charges against defendants, WRAL-TV5 reports. North Carolina filed nearly 73,000 DWI charges in 2009 and 394 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing a significant increase from 2008.
The North Carolina car accident attorneys with Lee & Smith know that being involved in a serious or fatal car accident, or losing a loved one to a fatal car crash, can be among the most trying times in your life. We hope that if you are involved in a serious car accident from Wilkesboro to Rutherfordton or anywhere else across the state, you will call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.