Reducing motor vehicle accidents involving impaired drivers

In recent decades, the issue of drunk driving has received a lot of attention. Laws in all states, including Alabama, make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Regardless, people still get behind the wheel when they are impaired, which exponentially increases the risk for motor vehicle accidents.

Therefore, numerous strategies in addition to the passage of drunk driving laws are employed in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the roadways. Law enforcement agencies set up sobriety checkpoints in which all or a portion of vehicles are stopped at specific locations to check for driver impairment. If a driver is suspected of being intoxicated, a breath test could be administered.

The use of ignition interlock systems is on the rise as well. These devices do not allow a car to start if the driver’s BAC is above a certain percentage. More jurisdictions around the country are beginning to require these devices for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. A driver’s license might also be suspended. Mass media campaigns are also used to remind drivers not to get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.

All of these efforts and others are said to have reduced the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents across the county, including many here in Alabama. However, there are still people who put their lives and the lives of others at risk by drinking and driving. Victims of these drivers, along with their families in the case of death, retain the right to file civil actions against the intoxicated driver in an effort to receive restitution for the damages caused in what are appropriately categorized as preventable crashes.

Source:, “What Works: Strategies to Reduce or Prevent Drunk Driving“, Accessed on Aug. 26, 2016