How serious is drunk driving in Alabama?

Despite widespread public awareness and strict laws, drunk driving continues to claim lives year after year in Alabama.

It has been several decades now since Mothers Against Drunk Driving started its campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. While some progress has been made, there is still a lot more than is needed when it comes to winning the war on drunk driving.

Drunk drivers are everywhere

Countless people in Alabama continue to get in their vehicles and drive after they have been drinking alcohol. And, contrary to what many may believe, several of these drivers are what most would consider highly responsible citizens.

Take, for example, the accident this past summer in which a highly decorated retired NASA astronaut killed two innocent children. AL.com explains that the man rear-ended the car that the girls were riding in with their father and another person on US 82 near Tuscaloosa. Speed and alcohol are believed to have been involved in the crash.

Also this summer, a motorcyclist died in Jefferson County after being hit from behind by a another driver. The biker had reportedly slowed down in preparation to turn when he was struck.

A 19-year old driver suspected of impaired operation was travelling the wrong way on Interstate 65 when he hit a vehicle with a couple and their child inside. The wife died and her husband and son were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

Jefferson County's drunk driving fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Jefferson County experienced 135 fatalities in drunk driving accidents between 2011 and 2015. That is significantly more than any of its neighboring counties.

In the same five-year period, Walker and St. Clair Counties had the next closest number of fatalities with 23 and 22, respectively. Shelby County recorded 19 drunk driving deaths. In Blount County, 12 people lost their lives and another 11 died in Tuscaloosa County. Bibb County was the site of eight drunk driving fatalities in those five years.

Alabama's drunk driving fatalities

Statewide, the number of lives lost at the hands of drunk drivers has remained between 240 and 265 every one of these five years. In 2011, there were 261 deaths. The next year saw a drop to 240 but that was followed by a jump back up to 259 and another jump to 265 in 2014. In 2015, a total of 247 people died in alcohol-related crashes across the state.

Accident victims deserve help

While preventing drunk driving accidents is the preferred outcome, when these tragic crashes do happen, those involved deserve help. Talking with an attorney after such an accident is recommended as the best way to seek appropriate compensation.