In 2016, over 500 people died as the result of a drunk driver in Pennsylvania, and across the country, over 10,000 people lost their lives in an accident involving a drunk driver. Though drunk driving has decreased slightly over the years, enough people die each year for it to be considered an epidemic. People who are at a higher risk of drunk driving include young people under the age of 24, those who have been previously convicted for drunk driving and motorcyclists.
Drinking alcohol decreases brain function, impairs muscle coordination and reduces thinking and reasoning. The effects of alcohol last until it is metabolized by the liver. This usually happens at a rate of approximately one hour per ounce of alcohol drank. Until it is metabolized, it remains in the bloodstream. Blood alcohol level is measured by blood alcohol concentration (BAC). At a BAC level of .08, the risk of accidents increases significantly, which is why it is illegal to drive a vehicle at a higher level.
When a drunk driver crashes into another vehicle, death may occur from loss of blood, injuries to internal organs, blunt-force trauma or by being impaled by an object. People who drive drunk may be traveling in groups of friends and may become distracted and may not be wearing proper seat belts. This could cause ejection from the vehicle, which increases the risk of serious injury or death occurs. In Pennsylvania, police have partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration several times over the past years in order to decrease drunk driving car accidents.
If a person operates a vehicle while drunk, he or she not only put themselves at risk of death or injury but puts other passengers in the vehicle, pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles at risk as well. Drivers who choose to drive a vehicle while drunk act negligently and may be responsible for the accident. A lawyer can help those injured in a car accident or family members of a deceased individual receive compensation for medical care and loss of wages.