Driving while drunk is one of the single most dangerous things that a motorist can do. The serious consequences of drunk driving accidents can be seen in the fact that someone dies every half hour in the U.S. in a crash involving a motorist who is impaired. In Ohio alone, there were 385 fatal accidents involving drunk driving in 2012 according to the NHTSA. Victims of drunk driving accidents also suffer an injury an average of once every two minutes, and these injuries can often change people’s lives forever.
Accident victims who are hurt by intoxicated drivers can get help from an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Columbus, OH. However, no amount of money can bring back good health or a loved one who has been lost due to an intoxicated motorist. Preventing accidents, therefore, is far better than reacting to them after the fact.
A lot of efforts have been made over the years to reduce the rate of drunk driving and many of these efforts have been very successful, especially during the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, drunk driving accidents still continue to occur every day. The National Safety Council has recently looked at some different techniques to try to reduce the rate of intoxicated driving even further in order to save countless lives.
How Can We Reduce the Rate of Drunk Driving?
There were several different programs that the NSC discussed as part of efforts to combat the problem of drunken driving. These included:
- Screening & intervention. Employers may provide screening and brief interventions as part of health benefits packages that are offered to workers. There have been 360 different studies done that show that screenings and brief interventions can be the most cost-effective way to reach problem drinkers. These programs are able to prevent high-risk behaviors and help people to get assistance to overcome drinking problems.
- Drunk driving enforcement. Public enforcement of laws on intoxicated driving has a major impact on reducing the rate of drunk drivers on the roads and on bringing down accident numbers. Around holidays such as Labor Day, there are usually public service announcements and anti-DWI campaigns that have been demonstrated to be effective at bringing awareness of enforcement to the forefront. Sobriety checkpoints are also described as an effective method of public enforcement of laws related to intoxicated driving.
- DWI courts. The NHTSA is currently considering the establishment of special courts to deal with drunk driving offenses and is exploring ways to provide support to prosecutors to improve conviction rates for intoxicated motorists.
- Ignition interlock devices. As many as 1/3 of those who are arrested for driving while intoxicated have already been convicted of this offense in the past, and thus are repeat offenders. The National Transportation Safety Board has made a recommendation recently that ignition interlock devices be required for all convicted drunk drivers even after a first offense. This could help to reduce the re-offense rate.
These techniques could go a long way towards helping to improve overall safety on the roads by reducing the rate of drunken motorists. The Chronicle also reported that the Ohio Department of Public Safety released a registry of people with five or more OVIs in recent years in an effort to cut down on impaired driving collisions. This release was a targeted local-effort to reduce drunk driving.
Victims of accidents who do experience harm as a result of an intoxicated driver should get legal help to protect their right to compensation from the drunk motorist.