How serious is drunk driving in Illinois?

Between 2011 and 2015, a total of 64 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in St. Clair County.

For many decades now, public awareness campaigns have educated Illinois residents about the dangers of drunk driving. Yet, many drivers continue to consume alcohol and then grab their keys and go. Countless accidents are caused every year by the people who make this senseless and negligent choice . Just how extensive is the problem in Illinois? Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates it is rather serious.

Statistics show drunk driving fatality trend

Over a five-year span from 2011 to 2015, Illinois deaths attributed to drunk driving accidents followed the same trend as deaths in all types of accidents. The number of people killed in 2012 and 2013 increased over the prior years and then a slight decrease occurred in 2014. That decrease, however, was followed by another increase in 2015.

Details include the following:

· In 2011, 278 people died in drunk driving accidents statewide.

· In 2012, there were 322 such deaths.

· The following year, alcohol-related auto fatalities numbered 330.

· A decrease was noticed to 302 deaths in 2014.

· In 2015, drunk driving fatalities rose again to 307.

In looking at southwestern Illinois, St. Clair County experienced more drunk driving deaths over that same five-year period than did any of its neighboring counties. A total of 64 people lost their lives in crashes involving alcohol in St. Clair County from 2011 to 2015.

Headlines expand on the reality

Reports about accidents caused by drunk drivers make the seriousness of the problem even more evident through the details provided.

Take, for example, the death of a 37-year-old father who died after a drunk driver rammed into him in West Chicago causing a fire to erupt. The Chicago Tribune reports that the 31-year-old drunk driver has since been convicted of aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide.

Last year, a 54-year-old woman was killed and a 14-year-old girl injured when their car was hit head-on by a driver who was not only legally drunk but who had taken a prescription drug and used pot as well. The Chicago Tribune explains that the impaired driving has recently been sentenced to six years in prison.

More recently, WQAD notes that three people were taken to the hospital after a drunk driver hit another vehicle, forcing both off the road along a stretch of Interstate 74 near Colona.

Taking action is important

After an accident caused by a drunk driver occurs, those involved should know they have the right to take action and protect themselves. Talking to an attorney is recommended to learn about the options available for compensation.