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Promoting impaired driving awareness in December

Nov. 30, the White House issued a proclamation stating that December 2017 is to be designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Impaired driving can impact the lives of drivers, passengers and pedestrians; even one drink can negatively affect driver performance. Residents of Mississippi and the rest of the U.S. have ways to combat and prevent this trend.

According to the proclamation, one person in the U.S. dies every 50 minutes in an alcohol-related traffic accident. Approximately 28 percent of traffic fatalities in 2016 involved impaired drivers, which comes out to over 10,000 people. Though traffic fatality rates due to alcohol were higher in previous decades, sometimes claiming two-thirds of the victims, the trend has been returning in recent years.

In 2012, 4.2 million Americans reported that they drove at least once under the influence of alcohol within the previous 30 days. The proclamation calls for individuals, especially through the combined efforts of family, friends, schools and churches, to do what they can to prevent others from driving while intoxicated. In the proclamation, the administration declared its support for companies that provide advanced vehicle technology and ride-hailing services, stating that it plans to remove many regulations for such companies.

It depends on the individual whether he or she will get behind the wheel when intoxicated. When car accidents occur because drivers make the wrong choice, the victims have the right to file a claim for monetary compensation. If successful, a settlement might cover vehicle damage and medical expenses. The victim may also be able to sue for punitive damages that are meant to punish the other driver for recklessness. Before filing, a victim may consult an attorney to assess the claim, determine a reasonable settlement and negotiate for it.

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