Even Stiffer DWI Laws Don’t Stop Drivers from Drinking
People hurt in drunk driving accidents in Arkansas aren’t really concerned with statistics. Their ordeal is a very personal one. But according to accident and arrest figures collected around the country, Arkansas is the 13th most dangerous state in the nation as far as drunk driving crashes are concerned.
That dubious honor springs directly from the high number of intoxicated drivers who knowingly get behind the wheel in our state and put the lives and livelihoods of innocent victims at risk every day. Between 2003 and 2012 a shocking 1,769 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in Arkansas. That’s an average of almost 200 deaths per year—deaths that are 100% completely preventable.
And, as high as the fatality rate is, the number of people injured in these types of avoidable accidents is even higher.
In fact, drunk driving accidents in Arkansas have become such a problem that our legislation has had to create tougher and tougher DWI laws in recent years to combat it. Independent analysts at research center WalletHub rank Arkansas’ current DWI laws among the toughest in the nation earning the state a “22” on the report’s sliding scale of 1 to 51. But there are still devastating crashes on a daily basis along high-traffic corridors like I-40 and in the tight-knit neighborhoods of college town Fayetteville.
How Much of a Problem are DWI Accidents in Arkansas?
All you have to do is quickly search the Internet for news reports about DWI crashes in Arkansas and you get a quick look at the true scope of the problem.
While most people charged with DUI in Arkansas are between the ages of 21 and 34, alcohol impairment isn’t limited to that population. In fact, within just the last month, a wide variety of DUI accidents in Arkansas have demonstrated just how widespread this potentially deadly problem is.
- In November, a woman launched her car off a bridge and into a river in a spectacular drunk driving accident in Arkansas. The woman was arrested after being treated for injuries.
- Earlier this month a man was arrested after fleeing the scene of a drunk driving accident in Fayetteville (on College Ave. near the University of Arkansas). Police had to physically subdue the man because of his belligerent behavior.
- Just three days prior, an underage driver was arrested after crashing a truck and causing a fire that burned a church in Harrison to the ground. Eyewitnesses report the 17-year-old appeared to be intoxicated and bleeding as he staggered from the wreck.
Why Are DWI Accidents Such a Problem in Arkansas?
With stricter laws on the books and increasing enforcement by Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement agencies, the hope is that the consequences of driving drunk may deter a person from getting behind the wheel after drinking. The true culprits behind this deadly game of life and death are the people who willingly get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In fact, a CDC study recently found that 1% of Arkansas drivers admit to willingly getting behind the wheel after they know they’ve had too much to drink. Again, loss of life due to drunk driving is 100% preventable, and if that 1% didn’t get behind the wheel, it would make a difference.
That reckless disregard for the safety of others is the negligence on which victims can base claims for compensation.
What People Who are Hurt in a Drunk Driving Accident in Arkansas Can Do
In addition to the criminal penalties levied against convicted drunk drivers in Arkansas, these willfully reckless individuals may also be subject to civil lawsuits and insurance claims filed on behalf of people they’ve injured.
These injured victims are allowed by Arkansas law to seek compensation or reimbursement for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Repair/replacement of damaged personal property
- Pain and suffering
Indeed, these injured individuals may even be able to seek compensation from the bar or restaurant which “overserved” an intoxicated driver. Under § 16-126-104 of the Arkansas Code (also known as “The Dram Shop Law”) allows victims to pursue civil cases against the owners of these establishments because they failed to cutoff intoxicated individuals before they became a danger on the roadways.
But getting the compensation victims justly deserve isn’t always easy. That’s where the experienced team of investigators and car accident attorneys at the Pfeifer Law Firm can help. Contact us today for your free no-obligation consultation. We can help you learn your rights and obligations after a DWI accident in Arkansas and help you move forward to recover the monetary damages you are entitled to.
You can chat with our office online or call 501-374-4440 to speak with a drunk driving accident lawyer. After-hours and weekend appointments are available. Knowing your rights and having an aggressive personal injury lawyer as your advocate makes a difference. Call us today.