Last year in October, a drunk driving crash made headlines when an allegedly impaired woman drove into a crowd of people at the Oklahoma State homecoming parade. The incident left four people dead and left 33 people injured, according to Pix 11. Because the accident happened at the parade and because so many victims were involved, the collision drew a lot of attention to the dangers of impaired driving and to the extent a drunk driver may be unable to control his or her actions behind the wheel.
While this drunk driving crash was a high profile one, many more drunk driving accidents happen throughout Oklahoma over the course of the year. Many of these crashes get little attention and have little impact outside of the lives of the victim and their families.
For those who are involved in the crashes, however, the incidents can be life-changing both for victims and their families.
Examining the Consequences of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a public safety concern that’s well known to law enforcement officials. Yet each year, countless people lose their lives due to a driver impaired by alcohol – and hundreds of other drunk driving accidents lead to serious injury.
Oklahoma aims to deter DUI accidents by imposing a 180 day administrative license suspension for impaired drivers, as well as by imposing stricter penalties for people with a BAC of .15 or higher. However, even with the laws prohibiting DUI and with strict penalties for offenders, people continue to get behind the wheel while impaired.
In many situations, the people who bear the burden of drunk driving losses are not the intoxicated motorist but are innocent victims. Oftentimes, the most seriously injured people involved in a drunk driving accident are other motorists, passengers or pedestrians. In cities such as Oklahoma City, a pedestrian may be at risk of being struck by a drunk driver when he or she legally crosses an intersection and an impaired driver fails to react in time.
The decision to drive drunk is often a costly mistake. Common costs to accident victims struck by a drunk driver include property damage, medical bills (including cost of physical therapy and long-term care) and loss of productivity, among other losses.
Motorists and pedestrians alike can do little to protect themselves from impaired drivers. Motorists should be aware most drunk driving crashes happen at night, as the rate of DUI is four times higher in the evening than during the day. Motorists should also watch for signs of impairment and should call the police if they see someone who appears to be intoxicated.