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Virginia’s drunk driving realities

Prince William County residents should know the risks posed by drunk drivers and know where to go if involved in accidents caused by them.

Most Manassas area residents have heard discussions about the serious nature of drinking and driving. Impairment by alcohol can greatly increase the risk of accidents. These crashes caused by drunk drivers cause tragic consequences for victims and families alike. Understanding some of the factors that influence these wrecks and what can be done is important for all people.

Dangers of repeat drunk drivers

Any person who chooses to get behind the wheel of a car, truck or other vehicle when intoxicated can be considered a negligent driver. The person who chooses to do this after having already been convicted of one or more previous impaired driving offenses can pose even greater danger to innocent victims.

Statistics provided by the Century Council show that repeat offenders frequently have very high blood alcohol levels. In 2012, there were 211 drunk driving fatalities in Virginia. In 85.7 percent of those cases, the impaired drivers had prior DUI convictions and had blood alcohol levels measuring 0.15 percent or higher.

How can repeat drunk driving be stopped?

One way that the law attempts to limit repeat drunk driving actions is through the mandated use of ignition interlock devices. The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that in Virginia, any person who is convicted of a drunk driving offense must use an IID. An ignition interlock device must be utilized for a minimum of six months. The ultimate duration is not allowed to exceed the length of time that the driver’s license is suspended.

IIDs operate by measuring drivers’ blood alcohol levels upon entering a vehicle. If a BAC is over the legal limit, the IID can lock the ignition, preventing use. These products must be professionally installed into different parts of drivers’ vehicles.

According to TechHive, there are some companies that are looking at building new cars with the functionality of ignition interlock devices already integrated into them. This would negate the need for additional installation if the use of an IID was later ordered by the court.

How many deaths occur from drunk driving crashes in Virginia?

Statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that out of a total of 991 traffic fatalities in 2013 in Virginia, 322 were attributed to drunk driving. Prince William County was the location of two of those deaths. Overall, the county lost 18 lives in all traffic accidents that year.

Compensation is important

A drunk driving victim may be a driver or passenger in another vehicle or even a passenger in the same vehicle driven by the drunk driver. Any person negatively impacted by the actions of a drunk driver should seek legal help promptly.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury

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