2014 Illinois DUI report shows about 35 percent of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related

shutterstock_121576933Drivers across Chicago are faced with the possibility of being victimized in a drunk driving accident each time they enter the roadways. According to the 2014 Illinois DUI report, 35 percent of all fatalities in the state in 2012 were related to alcohol use. This is three percent higher than the national figure of 32 percent, and it represents a 15 percent increase from alcohol-related crash fatalities from the year before.

Report Findings

The report detailed how prevalent the problem of drunk driving is for Illinois residents. Out of 956 crash fatalities in 2012, 335 of them were definitively alcohol-related. Arrests totaled 37,126 that year for driving under the influence, 86 percent of which were first-time offenders. Men are much more likely than women to be arrested for DUI in Illinois with 77 percent of all DUI arrests being male.

Alcohol’s effect on the body

Understanding how alcohol affects the body can help explain the prevalence of alcohol-related crash fatalities. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., individuals with a blood alcohol content of 0.02, well below the legal limit of 0.08, begin to lose their ability to properly judge situations. They experience a decline in visual performance and the ability to engage in two or more tasks at once is hindered.

At a BAC of 0.05, still below the legal limit, psychomotor performance is more seriously impaired. Drivers experience slower eye movements, decreased visual perception and increased reaction times.

When drivers reach a BAC of 0.08, they experience poor muscle coordination, a lessened ability to detect danger, and their judgment, reasoning, self-control and memory are hindered. This causes a reduced ability to concentrate, reduced information processing capability, and short-term memory loss. Impaired perception is also prevalent. At any BAC, all of these factors can join together to create a deadly combination that can easily result in a fatal collision.

A sobering reality

CBS Chicago recently reported on a Barrington Hills man who pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and causing a crash that injured two individuals and killed an Elgin man. The drunk driver was traveling north on Route 59 when his large vehicle sideswiped another car in the southbound lane, injuring that driver. The man’s vehicle then moved into the path of oncoming traffic and hit a car head-on, killing the car’s driver and injuring its passenger. The offending driver faces a sentence of one to 14 years in prison.

This Barrington Hills man is only one of many who chose to illegally drink and drive. The effects of that choice can easily resonate through families and communities for years if they cause a fatality. Those who have been affected by a drunk driver in Chicago can contact an attorney to gain an understanding of their rights and how to proceed in pursing their matter with the courts.

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When you contact Orzoff Law Offices, you will receive a free initial consultation to answer your questions and focus on your goals. Call 847-564-0285 or send us an email using our quick contact form.