The 21- to 24-year-old age group has the most drunk driving accidents in the United States, according to recent research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Drunk Driving Among Young Adults
Young adults often think they are invincible and take risks that older adults do not take. As a result, the statistics reported in 2017 show what many in our culture know to be true: adults who have recently reached the legal drinking age (ages 21-24) are at a greater risk of making the poor decision to drive under the influence of alcohol.
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How Drunk Driving Affects Society
Along with causing serious injuries and fatalities, drunk driving affects society in many ways. Along with the cost of life and health, drunk driving also costs society financially. Drunk driving results in astronomical medical bills, property damage, increased insurance rates, loss of income and workplace productivity, legal and court costs, emergency services (police and ambulances), and more.
The Drunk Driving Problem in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 alone, 10,497 people died due to drunk drivers, and drunk drivers caused 28% of all fatalities on the roadways in the United States. Even more harrowing is that deaths among children aged 0-14 years of age totaled 1,233 because of a drunk driver. More than 1 million drivers were charged with drunk driving in one year due to being under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
Pittsburgh Drunk Driving Laws
If a police officer stops a person and charges them with a DUI or DWI (driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated) in Pittsburgh, it will be because their blood-alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 percent or higher. In some cases, even if a driver’s BAC is not at that level, their actions on the roadways prove dangerous enough that they will still receive a DUI. The penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Pittsburgh are often severe.
For a first offense DUI in Pittsburgh, a driver will receive six months of probation and up to a $300 fine if their BAC was between 0.08 and 0.099 percent. Higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood can increase the penalties received by a drunk driver. Additionally, if a driver has more than one DUI on their record, the penalties begin to increase exponentially and can include large fines and jail time.
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How to Spot a Drunk Driver
If you are on the roadways, there are tell-tale ways to identify someone driving under the influence. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lists signs that can indicate drunk or drugged driving behavior. They are:
- Rapidly accelerating or decelerating on the roadways
- Tailgating too closely to the vehicle in front of them
- Drifting, weaving, swerving, or driving in and out of traffic
- Driving off the roadways onto a curb or sidewalk
- Narrowly missing the impact with another vehicle, stationary object, curb, etc.
- Stopping suddenly without cause
- Unusual braking or braking when not necessary
- Failing to signal or signaling at inappropriate times inconsistent with the actual driving that occurs
- Driving in the center of a lane of traffic across the line on the roadway
- Failure to stop at traffic lights or failure to start going through an intersection after a stop sign or green light
- Driving without headlights on at nighttime
- Driving slowly or substantially under the speed limit
- Drastically changing lanes of traffic or turning abruptly
- Driving head-on into oncoming traffic
It is important to note that it does not matter which age group causes the drunk driving accident because injuries and losses can occur no matter the driver’s age.
How an Attorney Can Help You After a Drunk Driving Accident
If you have experienced injuries or losses (economic and noneconomic) due to a drunk driving accident, you have the right to file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance to receive compensation. No matter the age of the driver who caused your drunk driving accident, you can pursue justice. You can seek compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, loss of future wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering you experienced because of your car accident involving a drunk driver.
Take time to understand your legal options following your drunk driving accident to ensure you protect your legal rights. Contact Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 today to learn how a car accident attorney may be able to help you with your next legal steps.