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The dangers of impaired driving

Between the years of 2006 and 2009, there were 120 alcohol-related fatalities per year on average, reportedly. The number of fatalities has decreased by nearly 23 percent from the yearly average during the preceding four years, according to the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Despite the apparent improvement, impaired driving continues to be an alarming societal risk nationwide, with nearly 30 fatalities per day caused by car accidents involving a driver under the influence of alcohol, according to the federal Department of Transportation. However, authorities say that there are several measures that can be taken to reduce or prevent the number of alcohol-related accidents. Many of these involve law enforcement practices, such as sobriety checkpoints, license revocation and active enforcement of drunk-driving laws.

In addition, there are other measures that can be taken by communities to mitigate the societal problem of impaired driving, such as increasing taxes on alcohol purchases, awareness raising and community initiatives like an alcohol diversion program, authorities say. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals can help to prevent drunk-driving accidents by calling a taxi rather than driving after drinking alcohol, taking the keys away from friends who are impaired or designating a sober driver.

When people are injured by an impaired driver, they may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, property damages, lost income and other damages. A personal injury lawyer representing the injured party may proffer police reports and chemical sobriety test results as evidence that the at-fault driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If the evidence is compelling, the civil court may award the injured victim a considerable sum of money in restitution for damages.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", December 01, 2014

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