Irresponsible driving behaviors contributed greatly to the over 370,000 deaths on US roadways between 2011 and 2020. Alcohol impairment and various forms of driver negligence play major roles in many of these devastating and preventable crashes.

Why Do People Drink and Drive?

A complex range of factors leads people to the dangerous decision to drink and drive.

Alcohol impairs judgment, making it more likely for intoxicated drivers to underestimate risks and overestimate abilities. Some may not fully understand alcohol’s severe impacts on driving skills. Overconfidence or ignorance of laws plays a role too. In other cases, those under social pressure or dealing with alcohol addiction may rationalize the behavior despite knowing grave dangers. Lack of transportation alternatives, inability to afford a ride-share service or taxi, or sheer disregard for personal and public safety also put people on roads while intoxicated.

While reasons vary across individuals and contexts, the choice to drink and drive puts lives at unacceptable peril, making it imperative to address root causes and prevent this negligent behavior.

Drinking and Driving

Drivers who choose to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol set into motion a chain of poor decisions that too often end in injury or loss of life. Even with blood alcohol contents as low as .05%, studies show impairment in areas critical to safe driving such as coordination, tracking moving objects, and response times. At higher intoxication levels, vision problems, loss of comprehension and judgment, and delayed reaction times make alcohol-impaired driving extremely dangerous.

Too Many Deaths

Despite decades of public awareness campaigns and strict drunk driving laws, alcohol contributed to around 13,384 deaths in 2021 in motor vehicle crashes in the US. This shows there is still work to be done in preventing driving after drinking. However, alcohol is just one piece of the driver negligence problem on our roadways.

Distracted Driving

Additional negligent behaviors such as speeding, distraction, drowsy and aggressive driving, and disregard for traffic laws and signs also contribute greatly to preventable crashes. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 9% of fatal crashes involve driver distraction. This could be activities like texting, eating, or interacting with passengers while behind the wheel.

Fatal Consequences

Drivers who choose to speed, not yield the right of way, tailgate, make unsafe lane changes, run red lights, and commit other dangerous violations show negligence and disregard for the safety of themselves and everyone around them. The consequences of these actions cause immeasurable grief for those affected.

Negligent Drivers

In many fatal multiple-vehicle crashes, investigators find that negligent behaviors from one or multiple drivers contributed to the collision. Criminal charges like vehicular manslaughter or homicide are pursued in cases where negligence shows grievous disregard for human life.

Driving is a Huge Responsibility

While not all factors that contribute to crashes carry criminal penalties, drivers must understand the immense responsibility they take on when operating a multi-thousand-pound machine on public roads. Refusing to drive impaired, minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws, and employing defensive driving techniques could prevent many heartbreaking tragedies each year.

The Role of Public Policy and Law Enforcement

Public policy and enforcement play roles in promoting responsible driving habits as well. Continued improvements in areas like license testing, traffic law enforcement, safety inspections, ignition interlocks for offenders, and public service campaigns help move the needle on driver negligence issues over time. Still, drivers themselves must make sound personal choices when behind the wheel, rather than relying solely on laws and penalties to govern behavior.

When lapses in judgment or negligent behavior escalate into motor vehicle crashes and deaths, the effects ripple through families and communities forever. While not every collision carries criminal liability, each case represents the prevention of a personal tragedy.

A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process after a crash, communicate with insurance companies, determine fault and liability, account for present and future medical costs and lost wages, and ultimately get the maximum compensation you deserve. Don’t let an at-fault driver escape accountability.

If you have been affected by a drunk driver or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by an inebriated or distracted driver, contact a personal injury attorney at Denmon Pearlman today. You can visit us at the following locations:

  • Tampa – 2504 W Crest Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
  • Petersburg – 520 2nd Ave South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  • New Port Richey – 5703 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652
  • Brooksville – 1790 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601
  • Seminole – 5290 Seminole Blvd. Suite D, St. Petersburg, FL 33708

Call now for a free consultation on (800) 800-4300.