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New study shows drunk driving problems persist

Drunk driving has long been a problem both in Connecticut and in the United States as a whole. Extensive efforts have been made to curtail this dangerous activity, from increased public safety and awareness campaigns to stricter penalties for those who drive while intoxicated. Yet, for many years, there hasn't seemed to be much change with regard to drunk driving, but a recently released study does show some promising figures.

The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that the number of those who drove while intoxicated was lower in 2014 compared to those who did so between 2002 and 2012. Although this is improvement, the 11.1 percent of those age 16 and older who admitted to driving while under the influence in the past year still equates to nearly 28 million individuals. That number is alarming, especially considering the fact that there were 322 more drunk driving fatalities in 2014. The year 2015 alone saw more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths.

And another problem is starting to rear its ugly head into roadway safety: drugged driving. While police officers can utilize field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and their own knowledge of drunk driving to stop and arrest drunk drivers, there are few tests, short of a blood test, that can accurately detect the presence of drugs in a driver's system. Still, those who are under the influence of marijuana, prescription pain killers and other drugs may compromise their ability to drive and put others at risk of being harmed in a car accident.

Those who have been hurt in a car wreck caused by the negligence of another should carefully consider their legal options, as compensation may be available for their damages. There are certain legal burdens that must be met, however, so discussing the matter with a qualified legal professional may prove helpful.

Source: The Day, "Study: Rate of drunken driving on the decline, but work remains," Lindsay Boyle, Jan. 8, 2017

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