Subscribe to LexTalk to stay on top of today’s legal issue and trends.
Catapult Your Career |
Industry Insights & Trends |
Product Training & Tips
Even though alcohol-related deaths have decreased slightly in recent years, these incidents are still extremely prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day 30 Americans will die in a vehicle crash that involves an impaired driver. This equates to one death each 51 minutes. The CDC has listed the cost of alcohol related crashes as being $59 billion annually.
In the year 2013, over 10,000 people were killed in DUI related crashes in the United States. This accounts for nearly a third of all road fatalities. In that year, over 1,100 of the victims were children aged 14 or under. 17% of these young car crash fatalities involved an impaired driver. 200 of these fatalities occurred when the child was riding in the same vehicle as the impaired driver.
In 2010, there were approximately 1.4 million DUI arrests throughout the United States. However, these arrests only account for 1% percent of the 112 million self-reported incidents of impaired driving that occur each year.
Certain populations are at higher risk than others for being in fatal or serious DUI related crashes. Younger drivers are statistically involved in more DUI crashes than older drivers at all blood alcohol content levels. In 2013, a third of the DUI crashes were caused by individuals between the ages of 21 and 24. Those between the ages of 25 and 34 were responsible for 29% of the DUI crashes and those who were 35 to 44 accounted for 24%.
Motorcyclists are also involved in fatal DUI accidents at a much higher rate than the general driving population. Of all the fatal motorcycle accidents that occurred in 2013, the driver had a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher 27% of the time. Of all the impaired motorcyclists who die in accidents each year, nearly half are 40 years old or older and motorcyclists between the ages of 40 and 44 account for 44% of the alcohol related motorcycle deaths.
Those with prior convictions for DUI have been shown to be more likely to be involved in fatal crashes. Drivers who are over the legal limit and are involved in a fatal crash are six times more likely to have a prior DUI conviction than drivers who were found to have no alcohol or drugs in their system.
In California, prosecutors treat DUI incidents that result in injury or death very seriously. DUI with injury can be charged as a felony-level offense and can result in prison sentences for those who are convicted. In addition, a DUI accident that results in the death of another person can lead to charges of vehicular manslaughter while under the influence or gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence. There are instances where a DUI driver can be charged with murder. If the driver ignored a known risk of the dangers of impaired dangers when he or she chose to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and someone was killed as a result of the driving conduct, murder charges can be filed.