A North Carolina man was killed in a recent drunk driving accident in University City, and authorities say the driver has a prior drunk driving conviction on her record. In fact, the 31-year-old woman from Huntsville was still on supervised probation after being found guilty of driving while impaired in 2014. She had served her community service and had regained her driver’s license, but with restrictions.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the suspected drunk driver made a sudden lane change on North Tryon Street from the right to the left lane. Then, the front of her Honda Accord slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer, which was stopped at a red light at the intersection of J.M. Keynes Boulevard. Her 52-year-old front-seat passenger was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. The driver was charged with aggravated felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, having an open container of alcohol in her vehicle, and violating her driver’s license restriction to have no more than 0.04 blood-alcohol concentration.
These kinds of collisions are wholly preventable, and yet far too common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released its latest report on alcohol-impaired driving and revealed there were 10,265 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2015. That averages out to one person dying in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes in this country.
Of those fatalities, 63 percent were drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, 15 percent were passengers riding with a driver who had an excessive blood-alcohol concentration, 14 percent were occupants of other vehicles, and nine percent were non-occupants (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
Between 2014 and 2015, the number of drunk driving accident deaths rose by 3.2 percent, from 9,943 up to 10,265. The good news is that alcohol-impaired death rates in the last decade fell by 27 percent, from 0.45 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2006 down to 0.33 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2015.
Still, our drunk driving accident lawyers know this remains a serious problem that costs all of us. The estimated cost of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. is $242 billion. Of that, $44 billion is the direct result of drunk driving. Those costs include:
- Emergency medical services;
- Medical bills;
- Insurance administration;
- Property damage;
- Legal and court expenses;
- Loss of wages/loss of productivity; and
- Traffic congestion.
These, of course, are all tangible losses. They don’t take into account the loss of life quality and emotional trauma that is inflicted on traffic accident victims and the families of those lost. When quality-of-life valuations are factored in, the overall cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. is $836 billion, and the cost just for alcohol-impaired driving crashes is $201.1 billion.
Children made up 16 percent of all those killed in drunk driving crashes in 2015, with 51 percent of those being occupants of the vehicle being driven by someone who was impaired, 33 percent being occupants of another vehicle, and 16 percent being non-occupants (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
About a quarter of drivers involved in fatal DWI crashes nationally had a previous crash, a previous speeding conviction, a previous DWI, or some type of previously recorded suspension or license revocation.
In North Carolina, there were 1,379 total traffic accidents in 2015. Of those, 30 percent involved drivers who had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Another five percent had a blood-alcohol concentration that was between 0.01 and 0.07.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Huntersville woman charged Tuesday in fatal DWI has 2013 DWI conviction, Dec. 7, 2016, By Mark Price, Charlotte Observer
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Speed a Factor in Triple-Fatality Charlotte Crash, Dec. 7, 2016, Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer