Picture this: You are driving home after spending the holidays with your family. You're enjoying listening to yet another holiday classic on the radio, when a car traveling in the opposite direction suddenly crosses the center line. Unable to react in time, the other car crashes head-on into your vehicle. Later on you wake up in the hospital wondering what happened. It turns out the driver who caused the crash had been out drinking earlier that evening.
Sadly, scenarios like the one just described happen all the time. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 11,000 people are killed, and another 1,440 people are injured, ever year in drunk driving accidents.
However, when it comes to the holidays, it seems that the risk for injury or death due to a drunk driver only increases, with 37 percent of all fatal accidents involving a driver who was drinking. Broken down, this means that close to four out of every 10 fatal accidents during the holiday season involve some level of impairment.
Fortunately, in Tennessee there are legal actions that can be taken to hold a drunk driver -- and in some cases the establishment he or she was drinking at -- accountable for their negligent decision to drive while intoxicated.
And while you can purse compensatory damages to pay for things like medical bills and lost wages, it is also sometimes possible to pursue punitive damages as well, which could end up deterring others from also drinking and driving.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Drive Sober Get Pulled Over," campaign accessed online Dec. 21, 2011
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