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Drunk driving deaths, and what's commonly involved in them

Drunk driving deaths account for about one-third of all traffic deaths. Oklahoma residents should know that this country's legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, 0.08 percent, is the highest in the world. Other countries, such as Brazil and Saudi Arabia, have a zero-tolerance policy. Regardless, it has been shown that a 0.08 BAC can slow down reaction times: a major factor in drunk driving crashes.

Drivers under 24 are at a high risk for drunk driving crashes. Compared to an older driver with the same BAC, a young driver still runs the higher risk because of inexperience behind the wheel. Youths also tend to travel in groups, which can create distractions in the vehicle. Others who are especially prone to drunk driving crashes are motorcyclists, those with a prior DUI conviction and those who mix alcohol with drugs or medications.

Drunk driving fatalities often arise from head trauma and internal bleeding. For example, drivers might hit their head on the steering wheel or be struck by flying debris. The abdomen could be struck by the steering column or pierced by glass. In cases of excessive bleeding, victims go into hypovolemic shock, where the heart cannot efficiently pump blood, and die unless emergency personnel can replace the lost fluids in time.

The survivors of car accidents may be able to file a personal injury claim. A lawyer might evaluate the case under the state's contributory negligence rule and assist with the filing of the claim. Investigators may come in to gather evidence that the defendant was drunk, distracted or negligent in some other way. The lawyer might then negotiate for a settlement with the auto insurance company, taking the case to court if one cannot be achieved. A successful claim may cover past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

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