According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person is killed every 51 minutes due to crashes involving a drunk driver. Drunk drivers are responsible for about 1/3rd of all traffic related deaths in the United States. Additionally, around 290,000 people are injured each year in drunk driving crashes.
How Alcohol Impacts Driving Ability
Drinking alcohol impacts people in many ways. Alcohol affects the brain as it:
- reduces brain function;
- leads to impaired thinking;
- impacts one’s ability to reason properly; and
- affects muscle coordination.
Any one of these symptoms alone would impact one’s driving ability. In combination, they can be deadly. Many people think alcohol doesn’t impact them unless they are over the “legal limit” to drive. However, that is not the case. Studies show that even a single alcoholic beverage can impact your ability to drive. This is true for a glass of wine, a beer, or a single cocktail. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports effects on drinking at blood alcohol concentrations as low as .02 (a single drink).
Common DUI Injuries
Of course, DUI crashes cause all sorts of injuries, just as other car accidents do. However, there are some injuries that are more common in DUI crashes. These are discussed briefly below:
Spinal Cord Injuries
The consequences of spinal cord injuries can be devastating. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or complete loss of use of one’s legs and arms. Other back injuries, such as ruptured or slipped discs can also occur.
Knee Injuries and Leg Injuries
Knee and leg injuries are common in car crashes. This is particularly true with side impact collisions. Torn ligaments and broken bones can result in both short term and long-term injuries. Rehabilitation can take weeks or months.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury is often an unseen injury. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury is not always diagnosed right away. It may take weeks or months for the symptoms of traumatic brain injury to present themselves. Traumatic brain injury also may take months, or even years to recover from. Sometimes, traumatic brain injuries have permanent consequences.
Injuries to the sternum are common in high speed crashes. This is particularly true where one is not wearing a seatbelt and they come in contact with the steering wheel or dash. Broken bones can cause additional injuries when they puncture vital organs.
Whiplash is a common injury in car crashes of any type. However, a car crash can also crush the trachea or cause damage to the larynx. Again, this is particularly true when one is not wearing a seatbelt.
We Hold Drunk Drivers Responsible
At the O’Brien Firm, we hold drunk drivers responsible for their actions. You and your family should not have to suffer because of the reckless actions of a drunk driver. Whether you have lost a loved family member or you or a loved one has been injured, we can help. We fight hard to get the money you need to return to the life you once had. Contact us at (716) 907.7777 for a free consultation.