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The heavy toll of impaired driving

Driving while impaired is one of the crimes most frequently committed in the United States; it's estimated that police arrest one driver for every 772 incidents of DWI.

Annually across the nation, police officers arrest 1.5 million intoxicated drivers. Many are repeat offenders responsible for a great deal of the accidents attributed to alcohol use. Every half hour, somewhere in the U.S., a person is killed by a drunk or drugged driver, adding up to almost 50 individuals each day.

Statistics show that the fatality rate is actually rising, with nearly 18,000 killed annually and another 250,000 injured in the U.S.

In 2012 here in New Jersey, 28 percent of deaths in car accidents were related to alcohol use, with 164 deaths. More than 10 million drivers self-reported incidents of impaired driving due to illicit drug usage in one survey of U.S. driving behaviors.

During the same year, 10,322 lives were lost in alcohol-related collisions in America, which accounts for 31 percent of all traffic deaths in the country. That number was up 4.6 percent from the year before when 9,865 died.

Clearly, there is a problem. New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety supports the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" initiative to keep drunken drivers off the roads. Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols are part of the highly visible enforcement strategies police departments are employing in targeted areas.

If you get hurt in a collision with an impaired driver, you don't have to wait for the adjudication of any criminal charges against the driver before filing civil litigation in the New Jersey courts in order to seek financial remuneration for your injuries, losses and related expenses.

Source: The State of New Jersey, "Talking Points," accessed Aug. 26, 2016

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