Prosecutors in seven California counties are sounding the alarm for drivers traveling throughout the Golden State. Drunk driving is significantly increasing during a time when revelry will be commonplace during and following the holiday season.
Statewide, traffic fatalities have increased by 15 percent over the year. While not all are connected to DUI, it still represents a dangerous uptick in risky and potentially deadly motor vehicle operations.
The COVID factor
Many see it as a continuation of a troubling trend that started when COVID-19 entered the United States, forcing people already stressed out from the possibility of contracting a deadly virus to stay at home. Alcohol sales and consumption skyrocketed.
To seemingly no one’s surprise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that traffic fatalities jumped in 2020. The most common factors were impaired driving and speeding and drivers not wearing seat belts.
San Diego County, the second largest in the state, has fatal drunk driving accidents at a level not seen for two decades. The current number is close to 40 and is doubling the historical average. Sacramento County more than doubled DUI deaths, with numbers approaching 30.
Beyond the larger areas of the state, many county district attorneys responsible for charging suspects with fatal DUIs have seen their workload in this area of criminal law double.
Statewide, fatal car accidents increased from 700 in 2018 to 730 in 2019. According to the Associated Press, the numbers in 2020 skyrocketed to an alarming 824. The number of victims grew to 941 in 2020, up from 818 in 2019 and 816 the year prior.
Drunk driving carries legal consequences beyond criminal courts, particularly when fatalities result. Additional justice can be found with the help of a personal injury attorney experienced in this area of the law.