West Virginia’s drunk driving realities

Spring break season is a good time to review the risks that people in West Virginia face due to drunk drivers.

Crashes caused by drunken drivers are extremely serious. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records indicate that in 2013, the state of West Virginia lost 91 lives in drunk driving accidents. That is out of a total number of all traffic fatalities of 332.

Only six counties in the state recorded more drunk driving fatalities than Cabell County. Details include the following:

  • Fayette County and Kanawha County were the locations of seven alcohol-related automobile fatalities each.
  • Berkeley, Jackson and Raleigh Counties all experienced five drunk-driving deaths.
  • Four people lost their lives in car accidents attributed to alcohol in Pendleton County.

In Cabell County, there were a total of 14 vehicular fatalities in 2013. Of those, three are attributed to drunk drivers.

Other statistics from the Century Council indicate that high blood alcohol levels can be exceptionally dangerous. In 2012, more than 77 percent of all of West Virginia's drunk driving deaths were caused by drivers with BAC levels beyond 0.14 percent.

News stories make it obvious

It only takes a brief online search to see just how serious and common drunk driving is in West Virginia. Following is a synopsis of just a few recent incidents:

  • A woman died when the truck she was riding in overturned and went into the oncoming lanes of traffic. According to WTRF.com, her boyfriend was the driver. Officers from the Ohio County Sheriff Department and the West Virginia State Police were involved in the man's DUI arrest. Two different breath tests were taken showing BAC levels of 0.151 and 0.101, both well over the legal limit. The driver is currently being held in Northern Regional Jail on a $250,000 bond.
  • A high school student was hospitalized with serious injuries after he and his friend were hit by a 38-year old drunk driver. The impaired driver had a revoked license and multiple prior DUI offenses on his records according to the WTVR.com report.
  • In Lincoln City, a Charleston Fire Department member was arrested on charges of aggravated DUI per a report by WOWKTV.com. The breath test result showed his blood alcohol level to be 0.24 percent. He was also charged with reckless driving.

While spring break season can be a good reason to get a refresher on the dangers of drunk driving, it is clear from these stories that it is not only partying college students who cause accidents.

Victims of drunk driving crashes should always be prepared to seek help. Talking to an attorney after such an accident is important.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury