Distracted driving plays a role in millions of motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. In many of these crashes, alcohol is also a factor. Considering that motorist distractions are defined as anything that takes your attention away from operating a vehicle, alcohol intoxication certainly qualifies. As far as on-the-road distractions go, drunk driving is one of the deadliest.
Combine alcohol and cell phone use while driving and you have a lethal mix. The first violation for a Louisiana driver fined if caught using a cell phone is $500. Add to that a fine or even worse for driving while under the influence and it's plain to see how expensive and deadly drinking and using a cell phone truly is.
Even the risk of expensive fines doesn't stop some people from drinking and using their cell phones while driving. In fact, 10% of iPhone users and 4% of Android users have admitted to using their cell phone to watch YouTube while driving.
Though some people may think there's no harm in getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks too many or using their cell phone, drunk driving accident statistics tell another story. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Almost 30 people are killed in drunk driving crashes every day in the United States—that's approximately one drunk driving death every 48 minutes.
- More than 10,000 people die each year in fatal drunk driving accidents.
- 10,874 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2017.
Though it's against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher in most parts of the U.S., alcohol starts impairing judgment and driving ability at a BAC of .02—long before you're considered legally intoxicated. In fact, in 2017, nearly 2,000 people died in alcohol-related car accidents where the driver's BAC was lower than the legal limit—between .01 and .07 g/dL.
Individuals under the influence of alcohol could demonstrate erratic behavior such as:
- Forget to turn on vehicle lights, veer in and out of lanes, or travel on the wrong side of the road
- Drive too slow or worse, speed
- Fall asleep at the wheel
- Ignore traffic signs and signals
- Fail to watch for pedestrians and other vehicles
This type of recklessness can lead to serious rear-end, side-swipe, wrong-way, and head-on collisions.
Drunk driving accidents, injuries, and deaths are preventable. To avoid the risks associated with being intoxicated, give yourself plenty of time to sober up before getting behind the wheel, or get a ride from a friend or ridesharing service.
Hurt by a Drunk Driver? We Can Help.
If you were hurt in a Louisiana car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our skilled personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options, and work to pursue a fair financial recovery.