Just how big of a problem is drunk driving in Florida?
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, during 2012 alone, 697 people died on Florida’s roads in drunk driving-related accidents. This number accounts for 29 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that occurred throughout the state that year. Additionally, during this same year, police reported a total of 17,199 crashes involving drunk drivers. For 2012, the financial costs for these fatal drunk driving accidents totaled roughly $3.6 billion, a cost passed on to state taxpayers. However, for the families of those individuals killed, the costs associated with the loss of a loved one cannot be quantified.
Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a total of 10,322 people died in drunk driving accidents during 2012. This equates to one death roughly every 50 minutes. An individual who chooses to drink and drive puts not only their own life in danger, but also the lives of everyone else with whom they share the road.
For family members who lose a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle accident, feelings of shock, grief and pain may be overwhelming. When a loved one’s death is the result of a drunk driving accident, it’s likely these feelings are magnified and accompanied by many other intense emotions and questions.
According to MADD, a driver who registers a blood alcohol concentration level as low as .02 experiences “some loss of judgement” and a “decline in visual functions”. When a driver registers a BAC of .08, which is the legal limit in most states including Florida, he or she experiences impairments in coordination, judgment, vision and response time.
Tampa area residents who have lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of a driver may choose to take legal action. By filing a civil wrongful death lawsuit, family members may be successful in obtaining answers to lingering questions, finding a sense of closure and recovering compensation.
Source: MADD.org, “Drunk Driving,” 2014
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