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Drunk driving accident statistics

Despite tightened drunk-driving laws in New Jersey and elsewhere, drunk drivers continue to get behind the wheels of their vehicles, seriously injuring and killing others by their wrongful actions each year. Despite the high risk to themselves as well as others, people unfortunately continue to drink and drive, making drunk driving a national public health issue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk drivers kill one person every 51 minutes in the U.S. In 2012 alone, 10,322 people were killed due to the actions of drunk drivers across the country, and nearly 30 people die each day in alcohol-related accidents.

In 2010, although 1.4 million people were arrested for alleged drunk driving offenses in the U.S., 112 million people self-reported they had driven while impaired. This means that out of all of the people who drove drunk, only about 1 percent were caught. While not all drunk driving incidents involve crashes, when collisions do occur, they often result in serious personal injury or fatalities. Young people account for the highest number of people involved in drunk driving collisions with a blood alcohol content above .08 percent. One out of three drivers who are legally intoxicated are between the ages of 21 and 24, with the second highest group being between the ages of 25 and 34.

Despite tightened laws, public awareness campaigns and stepped-up enforcement, many people are seriously injured or killed in drunk driving car accidents every year. In addition to the criminal penalties drunk drivers may face for causing a serious accident, victims may be able to hold the drunk drivers liable by filing personal injury lawsuits against them. Through such lawsuits, drunk drivers may be responsible for paying compensation to the victims for their economic and noneconomic losses. In some cases, they may also be ordered to pay punitive damages.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts", December 06, 2014

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