Factors in fatal drunk driving crashes

In South Carolina, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent. Drivers who are caught with a BAC of 0.08 or above can face fines, license suspension and other penalties. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still a common occurrence, and drunk driving fatalities account for approximately one-third of all fatalities resulting from traffic injuries.

Having a BAC of 0.08 can impair reaction times among drivers. Alcohol intoxication also leads to impaired depth perception and peripheral vision. Drivers under 24, motorcyclists and those with prior DUI convictions are at the highest risk for a fatal drunk driving crash. Younger drivers, when compared to older adults with the same BAC, are at a higher risk since they are relatively inexperienced and more prone to travel in groups that pose a distraction.

DUI crashes often result in drivers hitting their head on the steering wheel or another hard surface. Flying debris could also strike the head and cause trauma. Besides head trauma, blood loss is the most common cause of fatalities. The steering column, for example, could strike the driver's abdomen and cause internal bleeding. Glass could pierce the abdominal cavity to the same effect.

With serious blood loss comes hypovolemic shock, where the heart cannot efficiently pump blood. If emergency personnel do not replace those fluids in time, death will result.

Those who survive a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver may want to consider filing a claim. That way, they can be covered for their medical expenses, vehicle damage and pain and suffering, among other losses. If someone dies in a crash, a family member or other eligible dependent can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In either case, it's important to hire a lawyer who can assist and negotiate for a reasonable settlement.