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Troubling Statistics: DUI-Related Deaths & Children

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DUI, DUI-related crashes, DUI-related deaths, DuPage county personal injury attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, DUI accidents, child fatalities and DUI, DUI and seatbelt laws, seatbelt lawsA common tenet of driver safety is to never get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, the fact remains that many people, at varying degrees of intoxication, do decide to drive their vehicle while drunk. This puts not only the driver and any passengers in danger, but also poses a significant risk to others on the road.

Yet what happens when the situation is seemingly even more egregious, and the drunk driver's passengers include small children? A recent news article examined some troubling statistics in light of an incident that occurred in Illinois.

DUI-Related Deaths among Children

When it comes to DUI-related deaths of young children, many typically think that the minors were riding in a car that was struck by a drunk driver. However, a recent study revealed findings that show this is simply not true.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Pediatrics, found that 65 percent of children killed in DUI-related crashes are actually riding in the car with the drunk driver. The journal's finding also included that between 2001 and 2010, over 2,300 minors under the age of 15 were killed in accidents that included at least one driver under the influence. Of those deaths, 42 occurred in the state of Illinois.

Other Troubling Statistics

The disturbing findings of the study did not stop there. The following information was also included in the study's results:

  • The older the child and drunker the driver, the less likely the child in the vehicle would be using a seatbelt;

  • In over 70 percent of cases studied, the drunk driver survived the crash that claimed the life of the passenger child. This led researchers to believe that had the child been properly belted, he or she may have survived as well.

  • Child fatalities associated with DUI accidents usually involved one vehicle and typically occurred at night, as compared to child fatalities in accidents not involving an impaired driver.

Some Improvement

The incidence of DUI-related deaths among children declined by about 40 percent during the decade in which the cases were studied. That statistic is indicative of the same trend seen across the nation. Researchers are suggesting ways to further decrease the numbers, including increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints, stricter enforcement of DUI and seatbelt laws, and more prominent use of ignition interlock systems for those charged with DUI.

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