We all know that driving drunk can lead to terrible consequences. But how much of a menace are drunk drivers on Virginia’s streets and highways?
A bad one, but getting better in some ways, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. But while car accidents and injuries caused by drunk drivers have fallen over the last 26 years, people in the commonwealth are still getting killed and severely injured at the hands of impaired motorists.
Some DUI accident figures are improving, but not all
According to DMV statistics, DUI car crashes have dropped nearly 40 percent in that time, from 11,340 in 1997 to 6,910 in 2022. And nonfatal injuries were cut by almost 55 percent. Unfortunately, deaths have remained fairly steady over the years.
In 1997, 302 people were killed in drunk driving car accidents on Virginia roadways. That represented about 30 percent of all fatal collisions. Both the raw numbers and percentages of the total have fluctuated over the years, going as high as 378 deaths in 2007 and as low as 229 in 2012. For 2022, the total was 274 deaths, which made up 27 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Why fewer drunk-driving crashes?
It’s possible that stepped-up law enforcement against drinking and driving has reduced the number of people driving drunk regularly and therefore the number of accidents they cause. But whatever is behind this trend does not seem to have had much effect on deaths resulting from drunk driving.
Drunk driving continues to be a problem in Lynchburg. If you were injured in a collision with a drunk driver, there is a good chance you now must live with chronic pain and disability. You might also have massive medical bills from treating your injuries and little to no ability to work to pay them off. Or you have lost a loved one because someone else decided to drink and drive.
In situations like these, it should be the drunk driver who is on the hook financially, not the victims. A personal injury attorney can explain how to get maximum compensation and what the process is like.