Each year, thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers while thousands more are injured. Awareness programs have not stopped this serious problem.

For decades, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups have attempted to educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving in hopes to end this dangerous activity for good. While these groups have had great accomplishments, it remains an unfortunate fact that too many people are still hurt or killed in alcohol-related crashes in every state today, including Virginia.

According to Your 4 State, drunk driving deaths in Virginia increased nearly 11 percent in 2013 from the previous year. 253 people were killed, while more than 27,300 were convicted of drunk driving in the state in 2013.

Drunk driving website aims to raise awareness

Recently, Virginia's governor set up an educational website dedicated to the victims of drunk driving, and their families. "Faces of Drunk Driving" is meant to not only raise awareness of the problem, but to convince people to think twice before getting behind the wheel intoxicated.

However, some people believe the effort won't reach the ones who need to see it most, namely habitual drunk drivers who cause the worst crashes. It is possible that repeat drunk drivers will remain unaware of the site or will deny they have a drinking problem.

Drivers like this may include a 66-year-old man from Northampton County, who was recently sentenced to the maximum five years in prison for driving with a high blood alcohol content level and causing a crash. DelmarVANow News reported that the man had been out of prison for not even a year when he crashed his vehicle in a ditch. He had served nearly 10 years for causing a drunk driving accident that killed an off-duty Virginia State Trooper and his son.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 40 percent of all car accident deaths are alcohol-related. Law enforcement in Virginia and other states have enacted numerous methods for preventing drunk driving accidents, including:

  • Setting a blood alcohol content limit, which is currently .08 percent in every state
  • Enforcing ignition interlock device laws
  • Conducting sobriety checkpoints or increasing vigilance during high-risk periods
  • Setting age-specific laws and increasing penalties for underage drinking

In fact, strict underage drinking laws are necessary, MADD asserts, in hopes that younger drivers will learn about the consequences of drinking and driving early. Auto accidents are the top cause of death for teenagers, and about a fourth of those involve an underage person who is drinking and driving.

Contacting an attorney

Unfortunately, the chances of being in an alcohol-related crash are high for everyone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that two out of three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. If you or a family member was hurt by a drunk driver, it's important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to discuss your options.