Many researchers have noted a long downward trend in fatal motor vehicle accidents. There are many possible explanations for this change. Seatbelts, airbags and other safety features in cars have clearly been an important factor. Another important factor is a decline in drunk driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities involving drunk driving fell 4% in 2018. That year, drunk driving was a factor in about 29% of traffic fatalities, the lowest rate recorded since the NHTSA began recording alcohol data in 1982.
Not all that long ago, drunk driving was a leading cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol was involved in more than 60% of all traffic deaths in the mid-1970s. More than 65% of fatal traffic accidents for teenagers involved alcohol.
Many factors contributed to the decline in drunk driving deaths. States raised the legal drinking age to 21, stiffened penalties and increased enforcement against drunk driving. Governments and nongovernmental safety organizations waged awareness campaigns.
The reduction in drunk driving over the years is very good news, but one death due to drunk driving is one too many.
Lawsuits can play an important part in securing justice for victims of drunk driving accidents, and in encouraging others to drive more carefully. Drunk driving is negligent driving. A person who is injured due to the negligence of another driver can hold that person liable for their damages, including medical expenses, lost income and more. In cases involving fatal accidents, the immediate family members of the victim can hold a negligent driver liable for their damages through a type of personal injury lawsuit known as a wrongful death action. An experienced personal injury attorney can help the injured and their families to understand their options.