The High Costs of Drunk Drivers

Virtually every day, newspapers carry horror stories about drunk drivers destroying and ending lives. One recent story involved a man allegedly drunk when his SUV smashed into a car parked on a freeway shoulder, killing a pregnant woman.

The victim's grief-stricken family, including her 22-year-old Marine husband, is left to pick up the pieces.

It's the kind of tragedy that is repeated far too often across the country. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, (MADD), someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes. In 2008, 11,773 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver.

Statistics from MADD paint a vivid picture of the enormity of the drunk driving problem:

  • Someone in the United States is injured by a drunk driver almost every minute of every day. In 2001, more than half a million people were injured in vehicle crashes involving alcohol abuse.
  • Over 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2006. That is one out of every 139 licensed U.S. drivers.
  • Alcohol-related crashes cost the public a staggering $114 billion in 2000, including an estimated $51.1 billion in monetary costs and $63.2 billion in losses associated with the victim's quality of life.
  • A first-time drunk driving offender (someone driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above) has driven drunk an average of 87 times prior to being arrested.
  • The leading cause of death for people from three to 33 years old is motor vehicle crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here in California, 1,029 people died in alcohol-related or DUI crashes in 2008, a decrease of 8.8 percent from a year earlier.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver, or if you've lost a loved one in a car accident with a DUI driver, speak to a personal injury attorney who can use the law to protect your interests.