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Labor Day campaign targets drunk drivers

Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promotes a "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" initiative in Connecticut and other locations. This program is designed to prevent drivers from getting in a drunk driving accident by encouraging responsible vehicle operation practices. Further, the "Drive Sober" initiative is generally promoted around Labor Day, which is one of the riskiest days for becoming the victim of a drunk driving accident. Nighttime driving is particularly dangerous. During this holiday span, about half of our nation's vehicle accidents occurring between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. involve alcohol, down from about 14 percent of auto accidents that occur during the day.

Despite Connecticut's and other states' efforts to cut down on drunk driving, it remains a serious public health concern. About one-third of fatalities on American roads can be attributed to a driver who is impaired because of alcohol consumption. Many fatal accidents are attributable to drivers who egregiously flout the rules; more than two-thirds of fatal drunk driving crashes involve a driver with a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.15 percent. That means that a massive number of drivers are getting behind the wheel with BAC levels that are double the legal driving limit in most jurisdictions.

Although enforcement may help prevent drunk drivers from causing car accidents, a more visible police force does little to help the victim of a drunk driving accident after the crash has already occurred. Victims who have suffered serious injury because of the negligent and reckless actions of a drunk driver deserve to be compensated for their negative experience.

Families who have lost loved ones because of drunk driving accidents should know that they have legal rights in court. About 10,000 people die annually in drunk driving auto accidents; their relatives deserve remuneration. An at-fault driver may be held responsible in a civil court, and that person may have to compensate victims and their families for pain and suffering, medical costs and other related expenses.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "NHTSA kicks off annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" national law enforcement crackdown against drunk driving," Aug. 21, 2015

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