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DUI deaths, Chicago drunk driving injury lawyersAccording to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, drunk driving costs the United States (and its taxpayers) more than $132 billion each year. Higher insurance and tax rates, even for those not driving under the influence, time and gas expenses for traffic congestion, and long-term medical bills of those severely injured are just a few of the factors involved in that cost. Probably the most devastating cost of all is the lives lost to drunk driving.

Nearly one-third of all automobile deaths involve a drunk driver, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that drunk driving crashes cause one death every 50 minutes. And an emergency physician with the University of Michigan Health System says that each drunk driver will make about 80 trips under the influence before they are stopped—either by the police or because of an accident.

It is clear that we must do something, not just because of the damage that drunk driving is having on society and our pocketbooks, but because of the devastation that it is causing American families, each and every day. Most efforts have only been reactive, but a recent analysis suggests being proactive in the approach by installing sobriety tests in all new cars, not just in those that belong to convicted DUI offenders.

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A Lake County judge has sentenced David Hatyina to 10 years in prison for killing a 10-year-old boy while driving his boat under the influence of alcohol and cocaine last summer. The horrific accident occurred while the boy was inner-tubing behind a boat driven by his father. The boy had fallen into the water and was waiting to be picked up when Hatyina ran the boy over with his powerboat. Hatyina did not see the boy in the water despite the boy’s family yelling and waiving frantically as Hatyina’s boat rapidly approached the boy.

Following the deadly collision, Hatyina failed a field sobriety test and admitted to drinking. Police also found cocaine in his system.

As a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, I believe this tragic case should serve as an important reminder that boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. In fact, alcohol was a factor in 17% of fatal boating accidents last year. I am pleased to see that this judge gave Hatyina a sizable prison sentence and hope it will cause people to think twice before drinking and boating this summer.

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