The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began compiling drunk driving data in 1982. In the years since, the number of road users killed in Indiana and around the country in accidents involving an impaired driver has fallen by more than half. However, curbing intoxicated driving remains a serious road safety issue. According to NHTSA, 10,511 of the 36,560 people killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2018 lost their lives in an alcohol-related crash. In Indiana, drunk driving accidents claimed 209 lives in 2018.
The data reveals that most drunk driving accidents are caused by heavy drinkers with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.15% or higher. The legal driving limit in virtually all states is a BAC of 0.08%. Figures released by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reveal that intoxicated driving deaths are falling significantly in Indiana even though heavy drinking is a serious problem. In 2018, year over year drunk driving fatalities for the nation as a whole fell by 3.6%. In Indiana, road deaths linked to alcohol consumption fell by 13.4%. However, more than 40% of those road users were killed in an accident involving a driver with a BAC of 0.20% or higher.
Drunk driving victims
One such motor vehicle accident took place near Clarksville in March 2020. According to court records, a 31-year-old woman had a BAC that was more than three times the legal limit when she drove the wrong way on Interstate 265 and struck an oncoming car head-on. The accident claimed the lives of a 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman. On April 19, the woman who caused the deadly accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison to be followed by eight years of supervised release on drunk driving and involuntary manslaughter charges.
Suing impaired drivers
The victims of drunk driving may be able to pursue civil remedies even if the negligent motorists who injure them are incarcerated or killed in the accidents they cause. In these situations, accident victims could file lawsuits against the drunk driver’s estate or insurance company seeking damages to cover their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage.