According 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.
How Experts Hope the Sobriety Tests Will Work
The idea, experts say, is to create a device that could quickly and easily test the blood alcohol level of any driver behind the wheel; possibilities include the use of an infrared light to test either the breath or the tips of the fingers. If the driver tested above 0.08 (the legal limit for all states), the car would not start. The test could also be set to zero for drivers that are under the legal drinking age.
Blanket Sobriety Tests Could Cut Societal, Economic, and Life Costs to Americans
It would take about 15 years to phase out older vehicles without the sobriety, the experts say. And, unfortunately, the test does not yet exist—at least not one that is seamless and reliable enough to avoid hindering the general public. But once deeply rooted, they estimate that it could eliminate approximately $343 billion in costs from fatalities and injuries caused by drunk drivers. In short, the devices would pay for themselves within three years after the 15-year mark.
Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident? Hire a Qualified Attorney Today
The cost of losing someone you love to a drunk driver cannot ever be measured. The cost of personal injury time off of work, and the emotional turmoil that often comes with these aftereffects cannot be measured either. But the lack of measurability does not mean that victims of drunk drivers should forgo their right to fair compensation; rather, victims should act quickly and aggressively by contacting a skilled attorney immediately after the accident.
At Hurley, McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we understand just how deeply a drunk driver can affect your life or the lives of your loved ones. It is this knowledge that drives us to fight for our clients with aggressive and compassionate representation. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, call our Chicago drunk accident injury attorneys at [[phone]] for a free consultation today.