Nearly 30 people die every day in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, which is one fatality every 51 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Across the country, 10,322 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2012, and 348 of these traffic fatalities occurred in Tennessee.
The number of alcohol-impaired driving crash deaths in 2012 accounted for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. Of these fatalities, 239 were children younger than 15, and 124 of those children were riding with the drunk drivers. Motorcyclists were among the total alcohol-impaired driving crash deaths, and 29 percent had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 percent or higher. Almost half of the motorcyclists who die every year in these crashes are 40 or older.
Among the alcohol-impaired driving accidents, drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 accounted for 32 percent of those with BACs of .08 percent or higher. Drivers between 25 and 34 accounted for 27 percent, and drivers between 35 and 44 accounted for 24 percent. The impaired drivers were also seven times as likely to have prior DWI convictions. Of the 348 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities recorded in Tennessee in 2012, 85 involved drivers with BACs of .08 percent to .14 percent, while 210 involved drivers with BACs of .15 percent or higher. Furthermore, 53 of the deaths involved drivers with BACs of .01 to .07 percent.
An impaired driver who causes a fatal auto accident could be ordered to pay damages to the family members of the person who was killed through a wrongful death lawsuit. If the impaired driver also died, the cause of action could proceed against the decedent's estate.