The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) just released some preliminary information about traffic fatalities last year, and the news wasn’t good. In fact, the WTSC found that more people died on Washington roads in 2022 than at any time since 1990. The total number according to their initial data was 745.
As was the case throughout the country, a large number of these fatalities involved an impaired driver. According to the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHTSA), over half of all fatal crashes last year involved alcohol and/or drugs. According to the head of the WTSC, “Alcohol impairment, whether alone or in combination with other drugs, continues to be a leading risk factor in traffic fatalities.”
Some of these fatalities involve the impaired drivers themselves. The WTSC study showed that people who are driving under the influence are less likely to wear seat belts, for example.
Washington could follow Utah’s example
The problem is so serious that some Washington lawmakers want to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from .08% to .05% for adults. Washington has a zero tolerance limit of .02% BAC for underage drivers.
Utah made this change several years ago. The head of the Washington State Patrol says, “The goal of this bill is not to increase the number of DUI arrests but to remind and encourage people to avoid driving after drinking and thereby save lives. This was the outcome in Utah, and we expect a similar impact in Washington State.” It’s been found that even with a BAC of .05%, drivers’ response time is delayed, and their coordination is reduced.
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed by an impaired driver, remember that even though that driver will likely face criminal charges, you still have a right to seek compensation for expenses and damages. You may also be able to hold an establishment that overserved a drunk driver liable. Having sound legal guidance can help you get justice and compensation.