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The costs of impaired driving and preventative measures

Impaired driving kills and injures thousands of people every year and also costs the United States more than $59 billion annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that each fatal crash involving alcohol costs about $3.5 million while crashes resulting in injury cost about $99,000. There are many prevention efforts in place aimed to combat alcohol-related driving in Pennsylvania and the U.S.

While the U.S. has a higher minimum legal drinking age than several other countries, the laws governing underage drinking are intended to prevent impaired driving. The MLDA of 21 saves about $540 per underage driver as well as an estimated 700-1,000 lives every year. To help enforce the MLDA, it is illegal for underage drivers to have any alcohol in their systems. Additionally, adults cannot have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater, and these measures combined have reduced the drunk driving fatality rate by 11 percent.

Other measures help protect individuals when crashes occur and target mistakes impaired motorists usually make when driving. For example, those under the influence of alcohol are less likely to transport children safely. The Child Safety Seat Law requires children to be properly restrained and in the backseat when in a vehicle, which reduces the risk of a child fatally by as much as 74 percent.

Preventative measures can help reduce the amount of alcohol-related crashes, but there are also ways to help injured parties after drunk driving crashes occur. When one acts negligently by driving while impaired and causes a car accident, those injured can seek compensation for medical expenses and other costs related to the wreck. If a personal injury claim goes to court, an attorney might use a police report and any BAC tests conducted to show that a driver's actions caused a victim's injuries.

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