When we hear about people and families being injured or killed in drunk driving accidents, often times it conjures the mental image is of a happy family in one car and a careless drunk driver in the other car. However, recent studies have shown that this is a common misconception. If a child is killed in a drunk driving accident, chances are the drunk driver was in the same car as the child.
From the years 2001 to 2010, 2,344 children under age 15 died in car accidents, according to the CDC. One in five involved drunk driving and sixty five percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk. So it seems more likely that mom or dad having a few too many at a party is the largest risk in fatal drunk driving accidents to children.
What makes this even worse is that 61 percent of the children killed in these accidents were not wearing a seat belt or any restraint. Research shows that the likelihood of a child wearing a seat belt decreases as the driver’s blood alcohol content increases.
The child fatality rates varied from state to state. South Dakota, New Mexico and Mississippi had the highest national death rates of children riding with impaired drivers. Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey had the lowest rates, with NJ having just one child per 1.4 million die in an accident while riding with a drunk driver.
State drunk driving laws have been correlated to the varied death rates from state to state, though population and geographic terrain are also likely factors.
Aside from just making sure not to drink and drive, the safest thing parents can do is make sure their children are buckled up and sitting in the backseat. For younger children and toddlers, make sure that you’ve correctly installed booster and car seats for maximum protection.
The attorneys at Garland & Mason, L.L.C. are leaders in personal injury litigation. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury through a slip and fall or a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.