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Study shines light on drunk driving and child fatalities

Losing a child in a car crash is one of the hardest things a parent can face; the emotional anguish is likely to be compounded if the parent was behind the wheel at the time of the tragic accident. A recent study shows that the majority of children under 15 who are killed in drunk driving accidents are riding in a car with a drunk driver at the time of the crash.

The study shows that between 2001 and 2010, 65 percent of drunk driving accidents resulting in a child's death occurred when the child was riding with a drunk driver.

The study also revealed that around 61 percent of the children killed in such accidents were not using proper restraints, such as seatbelts, when the accidents occurred. In contrast, the survival rate of the drivers in the accident was about 70 percent, indicating that closer attention to use of safety restraints might have saved the child’s life in some cases.  

For New Jersey residents, one glimmer of light in this report is that the state has one of the lowest rates of child fatalities involving the vehicle in which the child is a passenger with an alleged drunk driver. The state with the worst rate of such child fatalities lost one child per 100,000 children; New Jersey’s rate during the study period was 0.07 children per 100,000 in the state.

Because drunk driving can result in serious consequences, including the deaths of children, authorities in New Jersey and throughout the country are very serious about prosecuting DUI charges. This dedication to fighting drunk driving sometimes causes those who are not legally intoxicated to be wrongly charged with DUI. It also results in overly harsh DUI penalties.

Regardless of the circumstances of DUI charges, it is important to have someone in your corner. If you are facing drunk driving charges, it is a good idea to discuss your legal options with an attorney who handles DUI matters.

Source: Reuters, "Study says majority of children who die in drunk driving crashes are riding with impaired driver," May 5, 2014

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