The numbers don't lie...We hear about the downing of a Malaysian Airliner and justifiably think about the tragic loss of 227 passengers. We recall the tragic events of 9/11 and the death of just under 3000 innocent victims. We feel safer as a society when we hear that Pennsylvanian prosecutors intend to seek life in prison for the 16 year old that brought a knife to school and arbitrarily slashed his schoolmates injuring twenty one students and one security guard before being wrestled to the ground by a heroic teacher.
Yet, as awful as these events are, every 30 minutes in the United States someone is killed due to a drunk driver. That amounts to 48 deaths per day and 17,520 deaths per year. While innocent victims' deaths at the hands of terrorists or emotionally disturbed school children capture the headlines, the death toll from drunk driving car crashes generally gets little, if any, media attention and certainly doesn't cause public outcry for action.
At trial court in Eastern Colorado just last week, I was representing a father who tragically lost his 23 year old daughter. The man before the court was a 30 year old (who looked like he was closer to 60) who recently had his 7th DUI car crash. While the DUI threshold in Colorado is a blood alcohol level of .08, this man's BAC was .44. While medical research indicates that alcohol toxicity that can result in death at a level as low as 0.2, when this man was caught, his blood alcohol level was over 5 times the legal limit. Due to years of alcohol abuse, this man had built up such a resistance that he could manage to drive and pose a threat to himself and others even though his blood alcohol level should have killed him.
Statistics show that for every one DUI arrest in America, that drunk driver likely drove on average 81 times under similar conditions and wasn't caught. For a man in his young 30's with 7 prior DUI's, that means 567 drunk driver outings where he put others at needless risk of injury or death.
As great a public safety risk as this 7 time drunk driver was, there was no media reporting this story. And in stark contrast to the legal battle ahead for the clearly emotionally unstable 16 year old boy that stabbed and slashed his schoolmates in April of this year, no one, not even the judge or prosecution in the case before me, considered that this drunk driver was an even greater risk to the public. In fact, I have never heard, nor am I aware of any media outlet advocating, that public safety demands a life sentence for a 7 time DUI driver.
The numbers don't lie. In my 24 year career, I have personally represented victims who have been badly injured or killed by drunk drivers. These injuries/deaths vastly eclipse the terrorist death tolls and school shooting victims combined. How can we as a society be so blind to such a great public safety risk?
At Anderson Hemmat, we understand the ripple effects that a drunk driver can have, not only for the injured victim, but also on the family members. While your drunk driver accident injury may not make the national headlines, it is of utmost importance to you and your family. Retaining the right personal injury law firm to assist you in getting fair compensation can make all the difference. Call our DUI Accident Injury Specialists today for your free injury case evaluation today.
Chad Hemmat - Co-Founding Partner, Talks About Drunk Driving Accident Injury Cases in Colorado