Unfortunately, car accident rates are on the rise through the United States. From 2014 to 2015, the number of traffic fatalities increased by 7 percent. This is the largest increase in the past 50 years. Deaths caused by drunk driving also increased by 3 percent—from 9,943 to 10,265— during the same time period.
The good news is that, while drunk driving still accounted for 29 percent of traffic fatalities in 2015, drunk driving fatalities are declining faster than traffic fatalities overall. However, drunk driving still causes more deaths than distracted driving, speeding, drugged driving and drowsy driving.
Although a person is considered to be impaired if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above 0.08, fatal car accidents are more likely when the driver has a very high BAC—above 0.15. Nearly 70 percent of fatal drunk driving accidents involve a driver with a BAC at or above this level. Unfortunately, those who drive with a such a high level of alcohol in their bodies often do so repeatedly. Even if they have been arrested, jailed, fined or punished in other ways for previous DUI charges, they may find it very hard to change their behavior.
How the States Compare
In 2015, there were 10,265 people killed in drunk driving accidents. The state with the highest number of deaths was Texas, with 1,323 fatalities. In second place was California, with 914 deaths. There were 797 fatalities in Florida and 411 in North Carolina. In comparison, Oregon had 155 deaths. The District of Columbia had the lowest number, at just six fatalities. Vermont and Rhode Island had 16 and 19 fatalities, respectively.
When it comes to impaired driving by drivers under the age of 21, Texas leads the way again at 171 deaths. In second place again was California, then Florida, at 96 and 73 deaths, respectively. Oregon had just nine deaths, while the District of Columbia had zero deaths. Alaska, Rhode Island and Vermont had just one death each. There were 1,021 deaths total caused by impaired underage drivers in 2015.
Oregon’s rate of drunk driving fatalities has varied over the years. In 1982, there were 322 fatalities that were alcohol-related. Of those, 288 involved drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or above. That number rose to 328 in 1984 and went up and down over the next several decades. The number has stayed under 200 since 2004. In 2010, the number of alcohol-related deaths was as low as 91, with the rates increasing slightly since then.
Contact a Portland Car Accident Attorney Today
No matter how a car accident is caused, it can lead to serious injuries and even death. You may be dealing with damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering for many months or even years.
The aggressive lawyers at Johnston Law Firm will work hard to protect your legal rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (503) 546-3167.