Many people in Virginia die each year in drunk driving accidents. Though drunk drivers face heavy fines and even jail time if caught, alcohol-related crashes continue to be an issue across the nation. In fact, drunk driving deaths account for approximately a third of all traffic deaths. The following are some of the common factors behind these fatalities.

At the highest risk are drivers under 24, motorcyclists and those with prior DUI convictions. Young drivers are inexperienced and, when traveling in groups, more easily distracted. These issues account for the fact that young drivers are at a greater risk for crashes than older adults with the identical blood alcohol concentration.

In Virginia, as in most other states, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08 percent. Those with this blood alcohol level will experience impaired reaction times. Even those below the limit will drive impaired. Alcohol remains in the bloodstream until the liver processes it (at a rate of about one ounce every hour).

Common causes of death in drunk driving crashes include head trauma and blood loss. A driver might hit their head on the steering wheel, or flying debris might strike them. Their abdomen might strike against the steering column, or glass might pierce the abdominal cavity.

Those who survive motor vehicle accidents may be left with conditions that require long-term medical treatment. They may even develop PTSD. If another driver’s negligence was to blame for an accident, the victim may be able to file an injury claim and be compensated for their medical expenses, lost wages, physical and emotional distress and more. They may want to retain a lawyer, however, to ensure a strong case. The lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement.