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A look at drunk driving realities and risks in Illinois

Champaign County residents should be aware of the risks of drunk driving accidents and be prepared to get help if needed.

Urbana residents are aware that drinking and driving increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents. However, for those persons who have never been affected by a drunk driving accident, it can be all too easy to think of these incidents as something that only happens to other people. The reality is quite different. The risk of being in a drunk driving crash is experienced by anyone who must share the roads that impaired drivers may drive on.

Factors that increase the risks

Two of the factors that can impact the severity of an accident caused by a drunk driving are the presence of prior offenses and the level of alcohol in drivers’ bloodstreams.

According to the Century Council, 71 percent of drivers in Illinois fatal drunk driving accidents in 2012 had blood alcohol content levels of at least 0.15 percent. The percent of repeat offenders with BAC levels greater than 0.14 percent was 75 percent. In all, 321 people died in Illinois due to the negligence and recklessness of drunk drivers that year.

Is there help to prevent repeat offenses?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all drivers convicted of drunk driving offenses in Illinois can be required to use ignition interlock devices during their license suspension periods. Drivers can refuse to install and use IIDs but will then be subject to additional penalties.

An ignition interlock device’s goal is to prevent a convicted drunk driver from having the opportunity to drive while intoxicated again. IID systems must be installed into drivers’ vehicles with some components being installed into the ignitions and others onto the dashboards.

TechHive provided information about how some vehicle makers are considering ways to incorporate IID features in new cars or other vehicles so that additional installations would be unnecessary later on.

How many people die in drunk driving crashes in Illinois?

A look at statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration make it easy to see that too many people lose their lives to drunk drivers in the state of Illinois. In 2013, a total of 322 such fatalities were recorded statewide.

Cook County was the location of the greatest number of drunk driving deaths with 93 lives lost. St. Clair, Will and Peoria Counties had the next highest numbers of drunk driving deaths with 19, 17 and nine lives lost respectively. In Champaign County, five people perished in accidents involving alcohol.

Help is important

Victims of drunk driving accidents deserve help. When these tragedies occur, those involved and their loved ones are urged to seek legal help promptly.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury


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