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Most common factors in drunk driving fatalities

Many drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania end in fatalities. Across the U.S., drunk driving fatalities make up approximately a third of all traffic-related fatalities. There are several common causes of these fatalities, such as the incurring of head trauma and excessive blood loss. Hitting the steering wheel or another hard surface, as well as being struck by flying debris, generally results in trauma.

Blood loss often occurs internally when the organs are pierced by glass or traumatized by the steering column. Extreme blood loss leads to hypovolemic shock where the heart can no longer efficiently pump blood. If the lost fluids are not replaced in time, victims die.

Those who are most at risk for drunk driving crashes include drivers under 24, motorcyclists and motorists with prior DUI convictions. Younger drivers are at an especially high risk because of their inexperience and tendency to travel in groups. Groups can easily become a distraction. Those who mix alcohol with drugs or medications also increase their risks.

Those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent (the legal limit) will experience slower reaction times, which is a critical factor in many crashes. The liver can process an ounce of alcohol in about one hour, but until then, it remains in the blood. However, compromised livers take longer to process alcohol.

Anyone injured through the actions of a drunk driver can file a personal injury claim. However, it must be shown that the victim was less negligent than the drunk driver. To do this, and to file the claim with the defendant's auto insurance company, it's highly recommended that the victim hire a lawyer. There is a two-year statute of limitations to abide by, too.

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