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Study: Lowering the BAC Limit Can Prevent Crashes, Save Lives

Police respond to car accident involving a drunk driver.

A Louisville drunk driving accident attorney explains the findings

A recent study found that lowering the alcohol limit for drunk driving can reduce the number of drunk driving accidents and fatalities, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported.

Conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the study based its findings on Utah, which lowered the state limit in 2019 for what’s considered legally drunk while driving. In 2019, Utah lowered the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent BAC.

That year, the total number of fatal car accidents statewide decreased by 19.8 percent compared to 2018. In addition, the number of drunk driving accident fatalities in the state fell sharply from 62 deaths in 2018 to 38 deaths in 2019, a decrease of 38.7 percent in a single year.

“Utah typically has one of the lowest rates of impaired driving fatalities in the nation, but this study shows that all states have room for improvement,” Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator, said in an interview with the NHTSA. “As our study shows, changing the law to .05 percent in Utah saved lives and motivated more drivers to take steps to avoid driving impaired.”

How many annual drunk driving fatalities does Kentucky have?

Accidents involving drunk drivers continue to be a serious problem in Kentucky. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the NHTSA, drunk driving accident fatalities in Kentucky increased dramatically between 2018 and 2020.

In 2018, there were 136 motor vehicle accident fatalities in Kentucky involving drivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The next year, that figure increased by 11 percent to 151 fatalities.

Then in 2020, drunk driving accident fatalities in Kentucky skyrocketed to 199. In that one year alone, the number of deaths due to crashes caused by drunk drivers statewide increased by 31.7 percent.

What to do if you get hit by a drunk driver in Kentucky

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol in Kentucky, it’s important to take certain steps right away:

  • Call the police and tell them you have been in a crash caused by a driver who appears to be under the influence of alcohol.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle until police arrive. Drunk drivers can often be aggressive and unpredictable.
  • Once the police arrive, if someone saw your accident, make sure you get their full name and address. Testimony from an eyewitness can be a powerful piece of evidence.
  • Take pictures of your accident scene right away, if possible.
  • Have a medical professional examine you right away. Even if you feel fine, have an EMT or doctor examine you. You could have a life-threatening internal injury and not even realize it.
  • Other than talking to the investigating police officer, do not discuss your accident with anyone at the crash site. Anything you say could later be used as evidence to deny your injury claim.
  • Call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to go over your legal rights and options.

We play hardball with drunk drivers

If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation for your losses. Known as damages in the legal world, you may be entitled to compensation including but not limited to your medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, and your pain and suffering. In cases involving the death of a loved one, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover things like the deceased's medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income.

It's important to note that any civil action you take against the at-fault driver is separate and distinct from any criminal charges the Commonwealth of Kentucky hands down to the drunk driver. That means even if the at-fault driver is acquitted of charges, you can still pursue compensation for your losses.

In short, you likely have options, and the best way to understand those options is to talk to an experienced drunk driving accident attorney who knows the ins and outs of Kentucky law.

At The Whaley Law Firm in Louisville, we've been successfully representing crash victims in Kentucky for years. We know how to investigate accidents. We know how to find the facts that matter. And we don't let insurance companies lowball our clients.

To find out more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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