Drunk driving accidents are down, but more needs to be done

Since 1998, fewer Minnesota travelers are dying in crashes along the state's roadways. However, in spite of the decrease in fatal collisions, there is still work to be done to further reduce the numbers of drunk driving accidents. Public safety advocates are urging a change in tactics to help ensure the safety of travelers.

In 2001, two men made the decision to walk home after indulging in alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, one motorist did not make the same choice and wound up striking the two pedestrians, leaving both victims with life-changing injuries. Since that time, the numbers of crashes involving impaired drivers has trended downward with statistics reflecting an estimated 65% reduction in fatal accidents involving a drunk driver. In light of the fact that more than 100 people are still victims of drunk driving crashes in Minnesota every year, there is still work to be done.

One enforcement officer reports that while he is encountering fewer intoxicated drivers, he is still pulling people over on suspicion of impairment. Weeknights seem to pose a a problem since people are less inclined to have a backup plan on these evenings. Those who are under the influence of prescription or illegal substances pose a difficult challenge as there are fewer tools available to officers to accurately gauge a driver's impairment. 

The summer months pose the highest risk to Minnesota travelers since more people are likely to be out and enjoying summer celebrations. Rural areas are more prone to see drunk driving accidents as there are fewer transportation options for impaired drivers. Safety advocates are seeking new ways to reduce the chances of intoxicated drivers endangering the lives of others. Those people whose lives have been negatively impacted by these types of tragic accidents, including the surviving families of deceased accident victims, may have grounds for seeking recovery of documented damages through a successful personal injury or wrongful death civil lawsuit.

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