Impaired Driving Causes Personal Injury to 345,000 People Each Year

Recently, the Chicago Tribune reported that an intoxicated driver struck the rear-end of a Chevrolet Geo Tracker causing a serious crash on the Edens Expressway. The intoxicated driver's vehicle rear-ended the Geo at high speed sending it out of control and into a ditch. The driver of the Geo, who was apparently driving along minding his own business, sustained serious injuries from which he died. The decedent was 26 years old.

The Centers for Disease Control finds that each year millions of people make a conscious and deliberate decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the 2014 Illinois DUI Fact Book, driving under the influence is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs prescribed for medical purposes-including cannabis-and illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine. Driving under the influence leads to car accidents and, in far too many cases, wrongful death.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that in 2012, 10,322 people were killed as a result of drunken driving. According to MADD, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes. Moreover, approximately 345,000 people were injured in 2012 due to drunk driving. Disturbingly, every 90 seconds someone is injured due to drunk driving.

According to the CDC, the problem of teen drinking and driving is an especially acute one. Nearly one million high school teens are estimated to have consumed alcoholic beverages and gotten behind the wheel in 2011. At least one in every 10 teenagers drives a motor vehicle while under the influence. The proverbial "silver lining" is that the percentage of teens who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991. The bad news is that 85 percent of teens who report drinking and driving in the past month say that they binge drank.

Illinois works to reduce impaired driving accidents

The Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety is committed to keeping impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. In 2012, there were 37,126 DUI arrests recorded in Illinois. The Division of Traffic Safety has research indicating that the "best deterrent to a potential impaired driver is the threat of being caught." Thus, the DOT is using highly visible law enforcement, including patrols and roadside safety checks.

The Illinois DOT finds that the devastating tragedy that comes from impaired driving could be prevented if the following precautions are taken:

  • Before going out and having a few drinks, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
  • Wear your safety belt at all times since this is your best defense against an impaired driver caused accident.
  • If you know someone who is about to get behind the wheel while impaired from alcohol or drug use, take that person's keys and arrange for their safe transportation home.

Suing in Illinois for injuries sustained as a result of impaired driving

If you or family members suffer personal injuries due to the negligence of a motor vehicle operator, you have the right to recover compensation. A person victimized by impaired driving needs to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate the facts, gather the evidence and interview witnesses. If necessary, an accident reconstruction expert can be used to help prove your case. A skilled attorney can assist you in holding accountable the person responsible for your injury or loss.