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Young people at greatest risk of drunk driving fatality

Connecticut readers might be interested to learn that, according to a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly one-third of all traffic-related fatalities in 2012 were the result of drunk driving collisions. In raw numbers, 10,322 people were killed in 2012 in such crashes. According to a 2010 study titled The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, the annual cost to Americans from alcohol-related accidents is in excess of $59 billion.

Motorcyclists, young people and individuals with prior drunk driving convictions are most at risk to be involved in fatal drunk driving collisions. According to the NHTSA report, 32 percent of drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater who were involved in fatal crashes were 21 to 24 years old. Twenty-seven percent were 25 to 34.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a number of recommendations regarding the prevention of fatal drunk driving accidents. The CDC has cited papers suggesting that community-based efforts toward drunk driving prevention, court-ordered substance abuse treatment or an increase in alcohol taxation, among other measures, may be effective. At the individual level, people can designate a driver, call a cab or offer alcohol-free drinks at parties.

If friends are impaired, individuals can take their keys. Those who have been injured in car accidents with drunk drivers may suffer lifelong consequences. An attorney familiar with personal injury law may be able to help injured parties by investigating the facts of the crash and determining which individuals or entities may have liability for damages. An attorney may be able to negotiate settlement with insurers or file a complaint to initiate a lawsuit for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering or other damages.

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