The risk drivers impaired by alcohol pose to their own friends and family members came into sharp focus through the details of a single-vehicle DUI crash in Lynchburg, Virginia (VA). The wreck occurred shortly after 1 am on August 1, 2015, when a driver who had been drinking lost control near the Grace Street exit from U.S. 29, which is known locally as the Lynchburg Expressway. The at-fault driver had been speeding before running off the right side of the highway, striking a light pole and flipping his car. Both he and his passenger sustained severe injuries.
Similar scenes play out on America's roads and interstates nearly every hour of every day. Often, the people in the car or truck operated by a drunk driver do not survive. According the most recently set of comprehensive DUI/DWI statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher claimed 10,076 lives during 2013. While the large majority of those fatalities were the drivers themselves, passengers, at 1,567, made up the second largest group of victims killed in alcohol-related wrecks.
Passengers usually know their drivers as parents, spouses and friends. What the shocking death toll figures show, then, is that individuals who get drunk and then take the wheel recklessly put the health and lives of those they love most and know best at risk. Children, especially, face unnecessary dangers from parents who drink and drive. The only way to alleviate that danger is to give up the keys when picking up a bottle.