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New data shows decline in drunk driving accident deaths per mile

Drunk driving has long been a primary cause of traffic deaths and serious injuries in Louisiana and around the country. This is inexcusable, as those who have become intoxicated have options other than getting behind the wheel of a car. They can ride with a designated driver, wait until they sober up or simply not drink to the point of intoxication in the first place. However, some new statistics provide some reason to be optimistic that the carnage may have peaked.

According to new data released by the federal government, in 2014 -- the latest year for which statistics are available -- drunk driving rates in the U.S. hit their lowest rate in 13 years. According to the data, 15.3 percent of people in the U.S. admitted in 2002 that they had driven drunk in the past year. That number fell to 11.1 percent in 2014.

Drunk driving resulted in 10,265 deaths on U.S. roads in 2015, an increase of over 300 deaths from the previous year. But Americans drove more miles in 2015 than in 2014, and when this is taken into account, drunk driving deaths per miles driven actually fell between 2014 and 2015.

When an innocent person is injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, the injured victim, or the surviving family members of a deceased victim, have legal rights in the civil justice system. In a personal injury lawsuit, an injured victim can pursue damages for physical and mental pain and suffering. He or she can also pursue compensation for past and future medical expenses, past wage loss and future loss of earning capacity. In a wrongful death lawsuit, bereaved family members can seek damages for their pecuniary losses, including the loss of support and companionship of their loved one.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, "Drunk driving rate falls to new low in U.S.," Christopher Ingraham, Dec. 30, 2016

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