Alcohol is a much-loved but often abused intoxicant that has a prominent role in our culture. Most people can't imagine a party or social gathering without some form of alcohol available. The popularity of alcohol is one reason that laws about impaired driving are so important. Between special educational focus on the topic during drivers' training and a constant stream of stories in the news, most people are acutely aware of the fact that driving after drinking is illegal.
Like all other states, Arkansas penalizes drivers who get behind the wheel after having consumed excessive alcohol or drugs. Sadly, the potential penalties and the risks to everyone on the road do not deter some people from deciding to drive drunk. These individuals put everyone else at risk, sometimes causing collisions that cause permanent injuries or even death for the occupants of the other vehicle involved.
Drunk driving accounts for over a fifth of traffic fatalities in Arkansas
According to data provided by the state, in 2014, the most recent year with data available, 109 traffic fatalities were related to alcohol. The total fatalities on the road for that year were only 470. That means that 23 percent of all crashes that killed someone involved alcohol. While that figure may be lower than in other years, it is still far too high, especially because these accidents are completely preventable.
While there are no state statistics about accidents that result in severe injuries, it is likely that a similar portion of crashes causing catastrophic injury also involve alcohol. For the victims in these crashes, life may change in an instant because of somebody else's bad decision.
You have the right to hold a drunk driver accountable
Choosing to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol doesn't just affect the person driving. It affects everyone in the vehicle and anyone else on the road at the same time. All too often, these individuals do not consider the potential impact they could have on the lives of others before driving.
While it cannot undo the damage that an accident has caused to you, you do have the right to hold the other driver accountable for breaking the law. Arkansas law allows for personal injury lawsuits against drivers whose negligence or bad decisions, including drunk or distracted driving, cause injuries to other people. In situations where you have lost a loved one to a drunk driver, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Ideally, nobody would have to suffer the consequences for somebody else's substance abuse. However, because this does happen, it is good to know your rights in the event that a drunk driver negatively impacts your life.