There is no doubt that consuming alcohol in excess is harmful to the human body. Yet, millions of people are able to drink socially without any apparent adverse effects.

However, the same cannot be said for those who drink alcohol and then drive. The damage they cause to themselves and innocent others is clearly documented.

Statistics don’t lie

In a single calendar year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) reported that about 10,265 individuals died in alcohol-related collisions. That number comprised nearly 30% of all the traffic deaths in the country for that year.

Even though 1.5 million motorists get arrested annually on charges of drunk driving, just a small percentage of drunken drivers are arrested. The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that approximately 4 million adult drivers committed roughly 112 million drunk-driving incidents in one year they studied. Every day, nearly 300,000 drunk driving incidents occur in the United States. Despite that, just .013% of those incidents result in an arrest.

It’s not just cars and trucks

Many motorists are unaware that they can get charged with driving under the influence (DUI) when operating riding lawn mowers, boats, golf carts, motorcycles and jet-skis. If it has wheels and a motor and you are impaired, you can face criminal charges for driving it.

The toll is high for victims

The worst repercussion of all is faced by those who are the victims of drunken driving accidents. These people lose loved ones, get maimed and suffer horrific injuries that may never heal. Even if they appear to heal superficially after an accident with a drunk driver, the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can leave them far from their formal selves. They may never again be able to hold down a job, drive a car or participate in normal everyday activities with their families. In short, their lives were irrevocably altered on that day some motorist made the very poor decision to consume alcohol and then drive.

Victims have rights they can exercise

Sadly, not everyone who drinks, drives and gets into an accident faces legal consequences. But regardless of whether the driver who injured you gets convicted or not on DUI charges, you do have another path to justice.

Suing the other driver in North Carolina’s civil court system can result in a settlement or judgment that can provide you with the financial means to live a better life. Learn more about your rights under the law after you were victimized by a drunken driver.