Underage Drinking Increases Risk for Drunk-Driving Accidents in Asheville, Elsewhere

With the holiday season just a few weeks away, we urge everyone to do their part to help prevent drunk-driving accidents in Asheville and throughout North Carolina.
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Our Gastonia drunk-driving accident attorneys remind you that opting to get behind the wheel while intoxicated is a poor decision that will most likely change a life forever. Even if you and everyone else involved is lucky enough to avoid getting into an accident, or survive one that you caused, there are always consequences to pay for driving under the influence.

Two families in South Carolina will be without loved ones this holiday season following a fatal drunk-driving accident in Berkeley County recently. Goose Creek Patch reports one family is mourning the loss of a loved one while the other has to watch a family member face a pending prison sentence.

In one accident, a 47-year-old woman from Moncks Corner died from blunt force trauma after being hit in her 2000 Saturn by a 33-year-old drunk driver operating a BMW. The driver of the BMW was traveling in the opposite direction when she crossed the center line and hit the victim’s car in a head-on collision. The defendant was charged with felony DUI, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol, after the victim died. The defendant and the 23-year-old passenger in her vehicle survived with minor injuries despite having not been wearing seat belts.

We are hopeful the 23-year-old passenger will learn a valuable lesson from this tragedy. Without positive role models, teens and other young drivers put themselves at considerable risk while making bad decisions and getting involved in an accident caused by operating a vehicle under the influence.

ACTnowNC.org reports that North Carolina had more than 11,000 drunk-driving accidents in 2009, of which 363 were fatal. Sadly, more than 20 percent of North Carolina’s students in 2009 reported riding in a vehicle with an intoxicated person. One out of 10 high school students also admitted to driving under the influence in a one-month period in 2009. Nationwide, 35 percent of the drivers involved in fatal DUI crashes were between the ages of 21 and 24 in 2009. The next highest at-risk age group was 25-to-34-year-olds, who reportedly were involved in 32 percent of accidents that year.

There are several social and health problems that can be associated with underage drinkers. If you see some of the following symptoms from a teen or young person, get help immediately.

-Lack of participation in youth activities or school groups.

-Constant development of illnesses or hangovers.

-Poor grades in school or frequent absences from school.

-Detection of other drug use.

-Loss of memory.

-Suicide or homicide isn’t out of the realm of possibilities with relation to the young person’s behavior or attitude.

-Change in sexual activity either by participating in unprotected, unwanted or unplanned activity.

-Behavioral situations that lead to legal problems or lawful consequences such as DWI.

Recent studies have shown the more a young person is around alcohol, the better chance they have of becoming addicted to it later on. More than 40 percent of children who start drinking before age 15 end up dependent on it later.

If you attend a holiday party with your teen child, set a good example by not having an alcoholic beverage. Teach your children to act responsibly and never drink and drive.

If you or someone in your family has been injured or someone has died in a drunk-driving accident in Charlotte, Asheville, Winston-Salem or Statesville, contact the car accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss the details of the accident. Injured victims have a right to be compensated, so call 1-800-887-1965 to make an appointment today.

Additional Resources:
DUI Charges in Overnight Fatality, by Greg Hambrick, Goose Creek Patch.

More Blog Entries:
Greensboro Drunk-Driving Accidents Prevalent During Holiday Weekends, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 11, 2011.

Driving Sober on Holiday Weekends Can Reduce the Risk of Drunk Driving Accidents in North Carolina, Nationwide, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 5, 2011.

Fatal North Carolina Teen Car Accident a Lesson to Talk to Your Teen about Safe Driving Beyond Obtaining a License, Throughout High School, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 28, 2011.

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