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DUI dangers during Illinois summer holidays

The long holiday weekends of summer are ideal for fun and travel. DuPage County families lighten their workloads to relax and enjoy the warm, pleasant season. Unfortunately, the laid-back attitude sometimes extends to the way people drive.

Negligent and reckless driving lead to needless motor vehicles accidents, injuries and deaths that can change an individual or family's lives instantly and forever. In 2012, the highest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities during U.S. holidays, 50 percent of traffic deaths, occurred during Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Comparatively, alcohol was linked to 43 percent of New Year's fatalities.

Over 12,000 people were killed nationwide in 2012 crashes involving alcohol, representing one DUI death every 51 minutes. Driver alcohol use was tied to 31 percent of all fatal U.S. traffic accidents and 41 percent of all deadly crashes in our state. The same year, Illinois law enforcement agencies arrested more than 37,000 suspected drunk drivers.

The Illinois DUI accident death rate in 2012 was significantly lower than years past. In 1982, more than 58 percent of fatal crashes statewide involved alcohol. However, the 2012 rate was considerably higher than the 27 percent drunk driving fatality rate recorded in 2010.

A large number of victims and drunk-driving offenders are young -- traffic accidents are the leading causing of death for people, ages 15 to 20. Twenty-eight percent of drivers in this age group involved in fatal crashes in 2012 had alcohol in their systems. Alcohol use was apparent in 25 percent of fatal collisions with young male drivers and 15 percent of fatalities involving young female drivers.

As statistics show, holidays can be a dangerous time for young drivers on break from school and older drivers who let down their guard during summer. The consequences are injuries and deaths that could have been avoided. Legal actions can help victims and families recover compensation for the negligence of others.

Source: Cyber Drive Illinois, "DUI Statistics," accessed May. 21, 2015

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