Drunk driving accounts for nearly a third of Minnesota traffic deaths

The risk of being in an accident caused by an alcohol-impaired driver increases over the Fourth of July weekend and during summer in general.

People who went out to enjoy the recent Fourth of July weekend with friends might have realized that they risked sharing the road with drunk drivers, but it can still be easy to assume that nothing will happen to them if they're careful. The same can apply for any time during the summer months, when people throughout Minnesota will be out in the sun or enjoying the nightlife with friends and family. Drinking activities are common during these peak celebration times.

There is nothing wrong with having a drink over the holiday weekend or just to enjoy summer in general. However, drunk driving accidents continue to be a problem throughout the U.S. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, drunk driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2012, nearly a 5 percent increase from the previous year. In 2012 alone, 21,548 people were convicted of DUI in the state.

Sobering summer drunk driving predictions

The National Safety Council estimated that there would be at least 380 traffic fatalities across the U.S. and over 41,000 injuries over the Fourth of July weekend alone. A large portion of these accidents were likely attributed to drunk driving; however, the danger doesn't end just because the holiday is over. Summertime itself can be a reason for people on vacation or out of school to drink more than usual.

The period of time before and after a holiday is traditionally a dangerous time for alcohol-impaired drivers. Last December was no exception; the Rochester Homepage reported on a crash last holiday season when a 43-year-old man who had no prior DUI record was driving drunk without his headlights on, and ran a red light in Henrietta Township. He hit another car and sent it spinning into two other vehicles. The other driver, a recently retired woman, was killed. The man was charged with DWI, manslaughter and reckless driving.

Greater risks for certain groups

Anyone can be hurt or killed in a drunk driving accident, but some people are more at risk than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these people include:

  • Young drivers between 21 and 24 years old.
  • Motorcyclists who have either been drinking or are hit by a drunk driver.
  • People with previous drunk driving convictions.

An interlock ignition device law exists in Minnesota that mandates the use of these devices for repeat drunk drivers and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content of .16 percent or greater. This law aims to prevent people from driving intoxicated; unfortunately, no preventative measure can be completely effective.

How an attorney can help

Medical bills resulting from drunk driving accidents can be overwhelming. If you've been injured by an intoxicated driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury