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In 2009, over 33,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents across the United States. Nearly one-third of those accidents involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The statistics also show that the holiday season experiences a spike in drunk driving fatalities, with December being one of the most dangerous months to be on the road. From 2001 to 2005, the NHTSA notes that nearly 40 percent of the fatal accidents during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher, compared with 28 percent of drivers during the rest of the month.
Once again, December will be National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D Month). Law enforcement agencies will step up DUI checkpoints and patrols during the month in an effort to prevent drunk driving accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road.
In 2009, West Virginia conducted an enhanced DUI enforcement campaign through the month of December according to the Governor’s Highway Traffic Safety Association. The number of sobriety checkpoints was increased, as was the volume of saturated and directed patrols.
DUI Fatalities Decreased in West Virginia
The enhanced patrols and media campaigns appear to be having some effect in West Virginia. The NHTSA notes that alcohol-related accidents declined nearly six percent from 2008 to 2009; this is on top of an eight percent reduction from 2007 to 2008.
Despite the improvements, the NHTSA notes that over 100 people were killed in West Virginia in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2009, representing one-third of all traffic fatalities, and many more were injured. If you or a family member has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.