Drunk Driving Accidents
A DUI Accident Can Have Serious Consequences
By: Mary Ann Pekara
According to statistics on drunk driving accidents maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17,013 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2003 - an average of one death almost every half-hour. These deaths constituted approximately 40 percent of the 42,642 total traffic deaths in 2003. And this does not include drug-related crashes-which are also penalized under most DWI and DUI laws.
In short, alcohol is the leading cause of motor vehicle deaths and injuries in the United States.
The risk of a driver being killed in a drunk driving crash with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 is at least 11 times that of drivers without alcohol in their system. At .10 BAC, the risk is at least 29 times higher. More than 20 percent of alcohol-related traffic deaths involve BAC levels below .10 percent.
In fact, some studies conclude that as low as .02 affects your ability to drive and increases the likelihood of an accident. The probability of a crash begins to increase significantly at a blood alcohol content of .05 percent and climbs rapidly above .08 percent.
Traumatic Injuries and DUI Accidents
Drunk driving crashes are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). There are two types of TBI: closed head and penetrating head TBI. A closed head injury occurs when the head violently strikes an external object, but the object does not penetrate the skull. A penetrating head injury occurs when the object pierces the skull and damages brain tissue.
There are several different types of traumatic injuries that can damage the brain. A skull fracture occurs when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. A depressed skull fracture occurs when pieces of the broken skull press into the tissue of the brain. This can cause bruising of the tissue, called a contusion.
A contusion can also occur in response to shaking of the brain within the confines of the skull. Damage to a major blood vessel within the head can cause a hematoma, or heavy bleeding into or around the brain.
The symptoms of TBI are not necessarily dramatic and can involve conditions as unremarkable as a simple headache. Other warning signs of TBI include nausea, seizures, confusion or other cognitive problems, a change in personality, depression, irritability, and other emotional and behavioral problems.
Although the symptoms of TBI can be subtle, the effects of TBI are anything but subtle. The consequences of TBI can range from a mild concussion to permanent physical, cognitive, and behavioral/emotional impairments, seizure disorders, paralysis, coma and death.
Drunk Driving is Extremely Dangerous
TBI is just one of the many types of injuries that can result from a drunk driving accident. If you have a drunk driving accident, not only are you likely to injure yourself, you may well injure other people-anyone in your car, pedestrians, or passengers in the other cars involved in your accident.
If this happens, not only could your DUI conviction be much more serious, but you could be subject to extremely expensive personal injury lawsuits.
As you can see, drunk driving accidents are extremely serious. If you are involved in a DUI-related accident, you might want the help of a local DUI lawyer to help you with all of the legal consequences. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, or if you have been charged or arrested with a DUI or DWI offense, don't wait. Call our 24-hour toll-free hotline at 877-349-1311 or fill out our free DUI case evaluation form.