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Most drunk drivers in fatal collisions have no DUI record

In Connecticut, most drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and kill themselves or others behind the wheel show no prior history of DUI arrests. Advocates from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Connecticut say that this is only an indicator that drunk drivers get away with violating DUI laws several times before being caught or causing fatal accidents.

In data supplied by the state Department of Transportation, the New Haven Register discovered that between 2010 and 2012, 298 people died in approximately 250 drunk driving accidents, but only 15 of the alcohol-impaired drivers that caused those collisions were arrested for DUI.

Seventy-one percent of drunk drivers who caused a fatal collision in the state did in fact kill themselves. Drunk drivers killed one of their passengers or a stranger in another car about 20 percent of the time. These numbers are consistent with national statistics where roughly two-thirds of fatal car crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers count the drunk drivers among fatalities.

Drunk driving fatalities are preventable, and groups like MADD are assisting the Connecticut police in setting up more DUI checkpoints and urging state lawmakers to install interlock devices into the cars of DUI violators to prevent repeat offenses. The device measures the blood alcohol level of drivers who are convicted of a drunk driving charge, and it prevents the operator's car from starting if his or her blood alcohol level is higher than the legal limit.

DUI deaths cost Connecticut over $4.1 million every year, and they cost the families of victims immeasurable losses. In cases involving drunk driving accidents, there may be several liable parties. Whether drunk drivers, businesses that serve them alcohol, or multiple parties are found liable, an attorney may be able to assist the families of victims in receiving financial compensation for unexpected burial expenses and their pain and suffering.

Source: New Haven Register, "Most at fault in fatal Connecticut DUI crashes had no prior record", Charlotte Adinolfi and Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, October 17, 2014

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