Drunk driving remains a huge problem in our country despite the efforts to stop this dangerous practice. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show how big this problem really is:
- 10,497 people were killed in drunk driving wrecks in 2016—almost one-third of all accidents.
- Fatalities on average occurred in alcohol-related accidents once every 50 minutes.
If you or a loved one were injured in a drunk driving accident, here’s what you need to know about how drinking may have caused the at-fault driver to be negligent.
How Alcohol Reduces Safe Driving Skills
It is illegal to drive in Virginia with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. However, a driver who has a lower BAC can still have his driving abilities impaired by his consumption of alcohol. Here is how alcohol reduces a person’s ability to drive safely:
- Judgment. At a BAC of just 0.02 percent, a driver’s ability to make responsible and sound decisions while driving is reduced, which can lead him to take reckless actions, such as speeding.
- Concentration. This is the ability to shift attention from between tasks—crucial for drivers who must be able to be aware of his speed, traffic, passengers, and much more all at the same time.
- Comprehension. A driver’s ability to comprehend and see traffic signs, signals, and other drivers—which is necessary to respond to emergency situations and drive safely on roads—is impaired. Many tragic accidents occur when a drunk driver does not understand that he is driving the wrong way on a one-way road.
- Reaction time. A driver must be able to respond quickly to traffic situations and emergencies. Unfortunately, alcohol slows this critical driving skill.
- Vision and hearing. Alcohol can reduce a person’s ability to see and hear—both which are essential for a driver to be fully aware of his surroundings.
If the driver who caused your accident was drunk, he most likely had a reduction in all or some of these abilities that resulted in his negligent actions. However, you will need to prove this to hold him accountable. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you collect the evidence needed to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence and to negotiate your settlement for you. Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.