A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that today’s teens are drinking and driving less than their predecessors. The study, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, compared teen drinking and driving habits from 2002 with those of 2014. Researchers found that 38% fewer young adults were drinking and driving. Teens experienced a significant drop in DUI rates, from 16.2 to 6.6%.
Alejandro Azofeifa, lead author, suggests that many factors may be at work behind the drop in drunk-driving rates. They include sobriety checkpoints and educational campaigns. The survey also found that rates of marijuana use while driving remained flat. However, some ambiguities may account for these numbers, which actually contradict state and national surveys finding a rise in driving under the influence of cannabis. These include some possible confusion about the identification of the “illegal drugs” mentioned in the survey, especially given that marijuana is now legal in some states.
DUI rates down, but still problematic
The study’s authors stress that while the decline in drunk driving rates among teens is obviously good news, there are still far too many drivers who engage in this problematic behavior. 18% of adults between 21 and 25 admitted to drinking and driving at least once in the past 12 months, according to the 2014 survey. The study relied on self-reporting, but did not ask the participants to specify how much alcohol they had ingested at the time.
Data available from 2013 shows that 17% of teenage drivers involved in fatal accidents were drunk. That year, 2,163 teenagers died in car accidents.
Additionally, marijuana use can pose significant dangers for drivers, especially when combined with alcohol. There is still a number of teens and adults who smoke marijuana while driving or combine it with alcohol.
South Carolina drunk driving accidents
Drunk driving is a major problem in South Carolina, with hundreds dying as a result of the carelessness and illegal activities of some drivers. Drunk or distracted drivers can be prosecuted in a criminal court, but may also face civil lawsuits from those who have been seriously injured because of their actions, or from the families of those who have died as a result of reckless behavior, including DUI.
Plaintiffs can sue to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages or earning potential, rehabilitation costs, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, or wrongful death. A good lawyer will make sure that a defendant will pay what he or she owes to the accident victim and/or the victim’s family.
Lawyers can also go after parties who were irresponsible in how they dispensed alcohol. Such parties can include bartenders, party hosts, or supervisors at work who hold events where alcohol is served. Parents who allow drinking at their teenager’s party and then allow friends to drink and drive may bear responsibility for subsequent accidents under South Carolina law and be sued as well.
The Jeffcoat Firm knows how to litigate drunk driver accident cases so that our clients receive maximum compensation for their losses. If you or a loved one have been injured in a drunk driving-related accident, please contact our firm at (803) 200-2000 for a free consultation.