Tennessee drunk driving deaths increase in recent years

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This summer, people in Tennessee and across the country will be out to enjoy the sun and to celebrate the nation's freedom. Many will take the celebrations beyond the Fourth of July weekend with plans to enjoy drinks with friends after spending long days at the beach or other outdoor activities. While for most people this summer is shaping up to be a memorable one, for others it may turn tragic due to drunk driving and other dangerous alcohol-related activities.

During the Independence Day weekend, the National Safety Council estimates there will be almost 400 traffic deaths and more than 41,000 injuries nationwide. A large portion of these numbers will most likely include drivers who will be on their cellphones or driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving is a serious matter in Tennessee; according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state in 2012 were attributed to drunk driving, a 14 percent increase from the year before.

Sobering statistics highlight the continuing problem of drunk driving

It would not be unreasonable to believe that many people in Tennessee know someone whose life has been affected by a drunk driver. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 61 traffic accidents related to alcohol in McMinn County alone last year, and, of course, there have been deaths this year. One of these included a tragic accident involving a Tennessee State University student who was killed after an unlicensed drunk driver crashed into her car in Nashville. News Channel 5 reported that the driver, who had previous convictions for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and other charges, now faces a vehicular homicide charge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drunk drivers kill around 30 people each day across the U.S. This amounts to about one death every 48 minutes. While anyone can be affected by drunk driving, those who are most at risk of being in a fatal alcohol-related accident include:

  • Younger drivers between the ages of 21 and 24
  • Motorcyclists who have either been driving impaired or have been struck by a drunk driver
  • Drivers with prior DUI convictions, particularly with a high blood alcohol content

Additionally, young children who are involved in drunk driving accidents are passengers about half the time in vehicles driven by an impaired driver.

How an attorney can help

Instead of having lives changed by drunk drivers during the summer months, Tennessee residents should be able to enjoy the sun and the nightlife. If you or a family member has been impacted by someone who chose to drive intoxicated, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for compensation.