Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common offenses in the United States; it is also a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents which result in everything from fender-benders to fatalities. Due to the major impact on society, driving while under the influence has been a battleground for many state and local governments. Many have employed the use of law enforcement campaigns with the theme “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Whether due to the ever-present message of “drive sober,” the vigilance of police, or a combination of both the number of alcohol-related accidents in the Bay State has declined in recent years. Nationally the number of alcohol-related car accident deaths has declined by 2.5 percent. Massachusetts numbers outshine the national average as police report a 15 percent decline in overall traffic fatalities with an 8.5 percent drop in fatal accidents involving alcohol. Although the gains are promising, there were still 118 people who lost their lives in 2013 due to alcohol-related accidents.
In Massachusetts, a driver is considered impaired if their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or greater. The limit is lower for commercial drivers and those under the age of 21. An individual’s blood alcohol content can be used in a civil case to support or make a showing of negligence; this is true even in cases not involving motor vehicle accidents.
For the average person, driving is likely one of the most dangerous activities they engage in on a daily basis. Avoiding alcohol before taking to the roadways is not only smart but goes a long way in preventing avoidable injury and death.
Source: Wilmington Patch, “Alcohol-Related Car Accident Deaths on the Decline in Massachusetts,” Liz Taurasi, Jan. 15, 2015