DUI study: Motor vehicle accident deaths involving children

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Every year, a large number of people lose their lives in Tennessee car accidents caused by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, some of those fatal motor vehicle accident victims are children. While new evidence shows that fewer children are dying in these kinds of accidents over the last several years, the evidence also shows one very disturbing fact: Most children killed in these kinds of crashes were killed while riding in the same vehicle as the intoxicated driver.

Most people expect that child drunk driving deaths happen after a rogue drunk on the road hits a family with his or her car. However, out of 2,344 drunk driving deaths involving victims who were under 15, approximately 65 percent of those kids were in the vehicle that the drunk driver was operating. This may be surprising to most, who would be inclined to believe that those in charge of children would take more care to drive sober.

These crash statistics were gathered over the last decade, from 2000 until 2010. These statistics show that fewer children are dying due to riding with drunk drivers (41 percent fewer children died in drunk driving crashes in 2010 than in 2000). Nevertheless, it is particularly disturbing to note that many of these deaths could have been avoided, not just by the driver avoiding drinking and driving, but also if the driver had put a seat belt on the child. Approximately 61 percent of these children died with drunk drivers while not wearing seat belts.

The worst part about a Tennessee drunk driving motor vehicle accident is the knowledge that the resulting injuries and death likely could have been avoided had the drunk driver simply found another way of getting home. One can take solace, however, in knowing that those convicted and accused of a DUI will face harsh criminal penalties for causing a fatal motor vehicle accident. Family members of victims may also try to seek restitution in civil court, which can be a way for them to obtain financial compensation to pay for funeral expenses and other costs stemming from the event.

Source: Reuters, “Drunk driving crashes involving child deaths vary by state“, Andrew Seaman, May 5, 2014