Drunk driving on the rise in the U.S.
In 2015, more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. More than 1,300 of those deaths happened in Texas.
It has been several decades since Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded. Originating out of the sorrow of one mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter to a drunk driver, MADD has been instrumental in helping America reduce the number of deaths caused by people who drive after drinking.
At the time of MADD’s inception in 1980, drunk driving fatalities accounted for half of all vehicular fatalities in the U.S. Today, the National Safety Council and MADD indicate that has dropped from half to roughly one third. While that seems to be good news, the alarming facts are that the rates appear to be climbing yet again.
What could be contributing to an increase?
The 10,265 lives lost to drunk driving in 2015 represented a 3.2 percent increase over the number of lives lost to the same factor in 2014.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary suggests that one reason for the increase could be that more people are on the roads. Car accidents it seems are vulnerable to the laws of chance insofar as the more a person drives, the more the chance of being involved in an accident increases. With an improving economy and a reduced cost of gas, more Americans are on the road more often. Therefore, the number of accidents may logically increase.
However, MADD indicates that economic factors may not be the only things at play here. Despite many advances in legislation, there is more than can and should be done to prevent people from driving drunk.
What can be done to curb the increase?
One thing that MADD would like to see is the mandated use of ignition interlock devices for any person convicted of an impaired driving offense. Currently, less than half of all states have a law requiring such use. Those that do not may only require some people to use IIDs. These include people convicted of second or subsequent offenses or people who had exceptionally high blood alcohol levels when they were arrested.
The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that Texas does require any person convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle he or she owns in order to be granted the ability to drive.
The IID law in Texas was just passed last year and the Dallas Morning News reports that it does more than simply order the use of these devices. The law actually gives drivers the choice. They can use the IID so that they can legally drive and continue their lives or they can be subject to a license suspension.
What should Texans do?
With more than 1,300 people killed in Texas alone in drunk driving accidents in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, action is important. Anyone involved in an accident caused by an impaired driver should always contact an attorney. It is an important way of learning about compensation and also continuing to publicly highlight the dangers of drinking and driving.
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