As the story goes, even Henry Ford believed that drinking and driving don't mix. History records that he said, "booze had to go when modern industry and the motor car came in," and there were nowhere near as many vehicles on the roads as there are today. In fact, there really weren't as many roads either.
Now, however, statistics indicate that the United States has the more registered vehicles than any other country in the world -- and more miles of asphalt as well. The roads are so crowded that about every 45 minutes, someone dies in an accident involving a drunk driver in this country. Despite the dangers, however, people continue to drive after drinking.
By the numbers
Everyone likes statistics, right? Here are some facts regarding drunk driving that may make you think twice:
- There are approximately 300,000 instances of drunk driving on America's roads each day, but police only arrest around 3,200 of them.
- Over 50 percent of all deadly accidents involving teenagers also involved alcohol.
- In 2014, 209 children up to the age of 14 died in crashes involving a drunk driver. Sadly, over 50 percent were passengers in the impaired driver's vehicle.
- Approximately 31 percent of all of the fatal traffic accidents here in the United States involved a drunk driver.
These are staggering statistics when seen all together. One last shocking number is 28.7 million, which is the number of people who admitted to driving drunk in 2013. That's only the people who admitted it. Can you imagine how many more people actually did it?
Is it possible to avoid drunk drivers?
There do seem to be certain times when more alcohol-related accidents occur. Keeping these facts in mind could help you avoid at least some of them:
- Somewhere around 75 percent of the alcohol-related deaths on the country's roadways occur between midnight and 3 a.m.
- Drunk driving also seems to spike around 3 p.m., which is after lunch, and 7 p.m., which is when happy hours often end.
- Driving on rural roads puts you more at risk than being on city streets.
Avoiding being on the roads during these times may help, but it still can't keep you from sharing the road with an intoxicated driver since there is no way to predict when one will be on the road. Fortunately, Minnesota is not one of the top 10 states that have the most drunk driving incidents, but they still occur.
What happens if you couldn't avoid that drunk driver?
You may now be part of the statistics. A drunk driver caused an accident in which you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one. What do you do now? Medical bills, lost income and other financial losses are piling up quickly, and you have no idea where to turn next.
You do have legal rights. It may help to explore your options for filing a civil claim against the offending driver seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. You may also be able to pursue a claim against the establishment where the driver was drinking prior to the crash under the state's Dram Shop Act. A legal advocate could provide you with the answers you need and help you take the next steps.