Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents in North Carolina an Easy 2012 Resolution

Police say a man killed in an accident with State Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, was driving with a blood-alcohol level more than three times over the legal limit, according to Channel 12 News.

As our Greensboro car accident attorneys reported this week on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, drunk driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal accidents. 1191066_cerveja.jpg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that alcohol was involved in one-third of the nation’s fatal traffic accidents in 2010. Drunk driving accidents killed 10,228 motorists that year.

Greensboro car accidents occur for many reasons. But drunk driving is among the most common and the most preventable.

Winston-Salem police say the driver who hit and injured Rep. Womble had a blood alcohol level of .29. The limit in the Carolinas is .08. The driver was killed in the accident, cause of which is still under investigation. The crash occurred in December. At the start of the year, Rep. Womble was upgraded to serious condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

And it’s not just the at-fault driver who faces liability. The Mason County Daily News reports a young woman is suing a bar that served her alcohol underage prior to her being involved in a car accident. Dram Shop laws may hold responsible bar and restaurants that serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated if that person is later involved in a serious traffic accident.

“The accident that resulted in Plaintiff being a paraplegic was due to and proximately caused by the negligence, recklessness, and willfulness and gross negligence of Defendant Jock’s Sports Grill,” the lawsuit said.

As many as half of these accidents involve a drunk driver between the ages of 18 and 34 and a significant number involve underage drinkers. Thus, tackling the issues associated with underage drinking is an important part of any anti-drunk driving campaign.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports the use of ignition interlock devices was expanded to another 15 states in 2011. These devices can play an important role in drunk-driving prevention. Ignition interlock devices force a driver to blow into a device that tests blood-alcohol level before permitting a vehicle to start.

“Our fight is far from over,” said MADD President Jan Withers. “Each year, more than 10,000 people are killed by drunk driving and hundreds of thousands are injured.”

The good news is it’s a largely preventable tragedy. Resolve to be responsible in 2012. Put the phone number to a taxi cab in your wallet and a $20 bill for cab fare behind your driver’s license. The costs associated with a DUI conviction can approach $20,000 counting lost wages, fines, court costs, license suspension and skyrocketing insurance fees.

And those are the lucky ones. Drivers unfortunate enough to be involved in a serious or fatal accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will see their lives changed forever.

Be smart. Don’t drink and drive. Call a friend or call a cab.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Toxicology Results Back from Crash that Injured Rep. Larry Womble, WXII12 News, Jan. 4, 2012.

Dram Shop Law in North Carolina Places Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents on the Establishment Serving Alcohol to Patrons, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2011.

Drunk Driving Accidents in Charlotte Often Caused by Habitual Offenders, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 30, 2011.

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