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The dangers of drunk driving

Most Kansas residents know that driving under the influence is dangerous, but they may not be aware of how many lives are lost each year on the nation's roads because drivers got behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. More than 10,000 people lose their lives in accidents caused by impaired drivers each year, and the financial cost of this drunk driving crashes is excess of $1 billion per week. About a third of all traffic accident fatalities occur in accidents involving an impaired driver.

Efforts to cut down on the number of drunk driving accidents focus on tougher laws and stricter enforcement combined with public awareness campaigns designed to drive home the dangers. Statistics reveal that younger drivers and repeat offenders are a large part of the problem.

It is hoped that the implementation of strict monitoring protocols and the widening use of ignition interlock devices may help to reduce the amount of repeat drunk drivers on the roads. These devices prevent a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath. Other efforts to curb intoxicated driving include mandatory substance abuse counseling, increasing the tax rates on alcohol and urging individuals who plan on drinking to designate a driver who will remain sober.

Drunk drivers may face civil sanctions as well as criminal penalties, and a personal injury attorney may file a lawsuit against them on behalf of those who have suffered injury, loss or damage due to their irresponsible behavior. This type of lawsuit could seek compensation for the property damage, lost income and medical expenses of the victim of an intoxicated driver.

Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", Jan. 13, 2015

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