Each day, millions of Tennessee drivers take to the road. Whether on an interstate or a dusty East Tennessee back road, automobile travelers face the risk of encountering impaired drivers. Despite being preventable, accidents caused by drunk driving can lead to permanent injury or death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-impaired driving accidents resulted in 31 percent of traffic-related deaths in 2012. In 18 percent of traffic-related deaths, substances other than alcohol were involved. Unfortunately, many of these deaths involved children. For all children involved in traffic-related deaths in 2012, 1 in 5 were killed by impaired drivers.

However, unlike other driving accidents, those caused by alcohol or substance use are preventable. Laws criminalizing intoxicated driving do reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related driving deaths. However, the number of drivers who self-report driving under the influence is significantly higher than the number of individuals arrested each year. Reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road requires more than adequate policing. Individuals’ choices significantly impact the number of impaired drivers on the road.

When drinking, friends can take steps to make sure everyone has fun but also stays safe. Having a designated driver ensures that no one takes the wheel in an impaired condition. Individuals can also keep the number of a cab company handy.

Unfortunately, not all drivers will take these precautions, resulting in unnecessary suffering for many. Accident injuries from drunk driving can result in high medical bills, lost income and death. Personal injury lawyers can help individuals who have suffered at the hands of an impaired driver. Their knowledge of the law can help victims fight back and recover losses resulting from the accident.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts,” Accessed Feb. 13, 2015