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The deadly results of drunk driving

West Virginia motorists should be aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Not only is it a serious offense, but driving while intoxicated can also endanger the lives of other people on the road. Roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths involve alcohol intoxication, with the most frequent victims being motorcyclists, motorists under the age of 24 and drivers with a prior DUI conviction.

In the U.S., driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 percent or higher is considered illegal. Other countries, such as Brazil and Saudi Arabia, have a zero-tolerance policy where driving with any alcohol in the blood is illegal. It's important to remember that even a small level of alcohol can impair driving abilities and slow down reaction times. Driving in groups, as many young people do, can create distractions that increase the risk for a fatal accident.

Drunk driving accidents often result in fatal head trauma. A driver's head may collide with the steering wheel or windshield when seat belts are not worn. Many deaths also arise from damage to the internal organs. For instance, blunt-force trauma from the steering column could rupture the organs, or the organs could be pierced by glass. Rapid blood loss can put a person into hypovolemic shock and kill them.

When negligent driving leads to an accident, victims may be compensated for vehicle repair costs, medical bills, lost wages and other losses. DUI is a form of reckless driving, so victims may even sue for punitive damages. Before filing anything, however, victims can consider getting legal representation. A lawyer could build up a case with the help of accident investigators, DUI experts and other third parties before negotiating for a settlement.

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