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December 2017 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Ohio residents should be aware of the effect that impaired driving has on car accident rates across the nation. Now, people have a month that's dedicated to raising awareness about the danger of impaired driving; on Nov. 30, the White House declared that December 2017 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The statistics mentioned in the press release can be startling. Alcohol contributed to two-thirds of traffic fatalities 40 years ago, and while that percentage has gone down over the decades, there has been an increase in fatalities in recent years. On average, one person in the U.S. is killed every 50 minutes due to a car crash involving alcohol. In 2016, over 10,000 people were killed in such crashes; they made up 28 percent of traffic fatalities.

Impaired driving is dangerous and unacceptable even when it does not lead to fatalities. It is a widespread problem; in 2012, for instance, about 4.2 million adults claimed that they drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in a 30-day period. The White House has stated that the administration is working to reduce regulations for American vehicle manufacturers and to give greater support to ride-hailing companies.

When impaired driving leads to a car wreck, the victim has the right to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for any medical bills, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering. This is separate from the criminal charges that the other driver will face; however, the victim could sue for punitive damages because impaired driving is a form of recklessness, not negligence. A lawyer may be able to help by assessing the claim, hiring investigators to build up the case and negotiating a settlement.

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