TN drunk driving fatality rate on the decline

Although the number of people killed in drunk driving car accidents has gone down significantly, drunk drivers continue to kill and injure innocent people.

People who make the poor decision to get behind the wheel after drinking kill thousands of people nation-wide each year. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, intoxicated drivers took the lives of 10,076 people and injured 290,000 people in 2013 alone. This showed a decrease from the 10,322 people who were killed in drunk driving accidents across the country in 2012. Tennessee alone experienced a 3.1 percent decline in drunk driving deaths from 2012 to 2013. State officials are hoping that this number continues to drop, as Tennessee enacted a law in 2013 requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock devices

Studies show that ignition interlock devices work to reduce drunk driving deaths by keeping intoxicated motorists off of the roads. Suspending convicted DUI offenders' driver's licenses is simply not enough to keep them from driving. MADD reported that up to 75 percent of intoxicated drivers who have suspended licenses continue to drive. Yet, interlock devices make it impossible for drunk drivers to start up and use their vehicles.

The small device, which is wired into the ignition system of the vehicle, requires the driver to submit a breath sample before the car will start. According to TechHive, IIDs act like breath test analyzers. If the sample contains an alcohol level of 0.02 percent or higher, the car will not start.

Many states across the nation have seen a drop in the DUI fatality rate after enacting laws mandating that all convicted drunk drivers use IIDs. Arkansas, Oregon, West Virginia and Alaska have all had the DUI death rate decrease by at least 27 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that interlock devices successfully reduce the number of repeat drunk drivers by up to 67 percent.

The consequences of drunk driving

Despite the decrease in overall DUI auto accident deaths, many people lives are still affected by drunk drivers. One woman recounted the story of how her husband was killed by a drunk driver in a devastating car accident that also seriously injured her and her daughter. According to ABC6 News, the woman and her daughter were passengers in a car driven by her late husband. A car traveling in the opposite direction had swerved into their lane and hit the family's truck head-on. Although the drunk driver that hit them was charged with vehicular homicide, the family had to adjust to living life without their husband and father.

Defending the victims

Drunk driving car accidents can have tragic consequences. Victims of these collisions may end up traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord damage or even paralyzed from the severe impact. If you have been in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you may want to speak with an attorney in Tennessee who can answer your legal questions regarding the specific details of your case.

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