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Impaired driving realities in Southern California

Drunk driving continues to be a problem throughout California and impairment by marijuana could grow if recreational pot is legalized this year by voters.

For several decades now, California residents have received messages from advocacy groups and law enforcement teams about the dangers of drinking and driving. Nonetheless, many people remain committed to their negligent and selfish ways, refusing to stop driving after they have consumed alcohol.

In the first two-and-a-half days of the 2016 Labor Day weekend, more than 2,000 people were arrested for drunk driving in the state according to KTLA news.

With legalized recreational use of marijuana a possibility soon, based on the outcome of the impending 2016 election, concerns about drugged driving are increasing as well. Ventura County is using grant money received from the state via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to launch an anti-impaired driving campaign. The effort will focus on both pot and alcohol.

How many people die in drunk driving accidents in California?

In looking at statistics from the NHTSA, the number of lives lost to drunk drivers in California every year is staggering. Detailed information includes the following:

  • In 2011, 774 drunk driving deaths were recorded. Of those 37, occurred in Orange County.
  • The following year saw a jump statewide to 829 fatalities with 36 taking place in Orange County.
  • The increase continued in both the state and the county the following year with 880 statewide fatalities and 51 county fatalities.
  • Drunk drivers killed 876 people in California in 2014, 41 of which died in Orange County.
  • Alcohol was involved in 914 vehicular fatalities statewide in 2015. Of those deaths, 42 were in Orange County.

Neighboring Los Angeles County lost between 130 and 187 lives each of those five years at the hands of drunk drivers.

What are some examples of recent drunk driving deaths?

It is sadly all too easy to find reports of accidents in which innocent people suffer because someone else made the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. In September, a man from Santa Maria died when he was hit by a drunk driver along a stretch of Highway 101 near Arroyo Grande. To make matters worse, the impaired driver fled the scene but was later found and arrested by authorities.

In October, a drunk man drove his vehicle into oncoming traffic along the Mendocino County coast. Two people had to be taken by air to the hospital for treatment. Another six were transported by ambulance.

What should I do after a drunk driving accident?

Certainly tending to any injuries is a top priority after any type of accident. Beyond that, reaching out to an attorney should be a priority for anyone injured in a drunk driving accident. The same is true for anyone who loses a loved one in such a crash. Legal help can be useful in receiving proper compensation.

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