In the United States, an alcohol-related traffic accident causes one injury every two minutes and one death every eight minutes. In Colorado alone, 133 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2012 according to the NHTSA.While there was a significant decline in drunk driving deaths in the 1980s and 1990s, there are still far too many fatalities each year.
Efforts are ongoing by experts to try to reduce the injuries and deaths, and these efforts are largely supported by the public. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, three out of every four Americans endorse imposing more severe penalties on intoxicated motorists in order to make the roads safer.
The NSC has summarized some of the top strategies to reduce impaired driving, but ultimately the decision rests with each individual motorist to make the smart choice and avoid putting his own life and the lives of others at risk. Victims of drunk driving accidents can get help from a drunk driving accident attorney in Denver in securing compensation for their losses caused by the accident, but preventing accidents by just saying no to drunk driving is a far better option for everyone.
Reducing Drunk Driving Dangers
Some of the different techniques the NSC describes among the top strategies to reduce impaired driving include:
- Screening and brief intervention (SBI): Screening and brief interventions are provided by employers, usually because the employers have workers who drive regularly in the course of duty. Employers have incentive to reduce the risk of drunk driving so they can protect themselves from liability if an employee gets into an accident while drunk. Employers can also offer screening and brief intervention programs as part of Employee Assistance Programs or employee health benefits. Screening and brief intervention has been found in numerous studies to be the most cost-effective strategy to reduce problem-drinking behaviors and to help facilitate effective treatment for people with drinking problems.
- The raised drinking age: When the drinking age was raised to 21, crashes declined by as much as 30 percent. As many as 25,000 traffic accidents involving drunk teens have been prevented and while 56 percent of teen drivers killed in accidents had a BAC above the legal limit in 1982, only 23 percent of teen car crash victims had a BAC over the limit in 2005.
- High visibility enforcement. Public service campaigns, like those that that typically go into high gear around the holiday times, have a major impact on reducing the number of intoxicated drivers. Television ads and media material informing the public of the consequences of drunk driving can reduce the likelihood that people will get behind the wheel drunk.
- Sobriety checkpoints: Sobriety checkpoints are helpful for reducing the drunk driving risk for a number of different reasons. For example, sobriety checkpoints make the enforcement of drunk driving laws very visible to the public, thus acting as a deterrent. Sobriety checkpoints can also help police to catch drunk drivers in the act before the motorists get into a crash. Research has indicated that sobriety checkpoints may decrease the risk of drunk driving by as much as 20 percent.
Fortunately, these programs have made a major difference in reducing drunk driving. Ignition Interlock devices have also helped to significantly reduce the risk of crashes since as many as a third of all drunk driving arrests annually are caused by repeat offenders. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently recommending that IIDs be required for all convicted offenders, even those convicted of a first DUI. This could help improve road safety.
Bell & Pollock has offices in Denver, CO. Call 800-559-5920 today to schedule a free consultation.