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Drunk driving, and how to avoid it

Alcohol impairs the central nervous system and can cause everything from impaired muscle coordination to memory lapses. Even a small lapse in judgment can prevent one from doing two things at once or tracking a moving object. When alcohol consumption mixes with driving, the results can be fatal. Every year in New Jersey and across the U.S., around 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that about 30 people die each day in drunk driving crashes in the U.S. Motorcyclists see the highest rate of fatal drunk driving crashes. In 2017, 1,357 of the 4,885 motorcyclists who were killed in crashes were found to be intoxicated. That comes to 28%.

Avoiding drunk driving is, or should be, simple. If one drinks too much at a party, one should call a taxi or a ridesharing vehicle for the ride home. Better yet, one should designate a sober driver beforehand. If a friend is drunk, one should dissuade him or her from driving, even taking away the keys if necessary.

The most drastic step would be to install an ignition interlock device, which measures one's BAC and prevents one from starting the car if that BAC exceeds the legal limit. Some states require DUI offenders to install this.

Since DUI crashes are caused by negligence, one could form the basis for a third-party insurance claim. New Jersey is a no-fault state, so there are limits on who can file such a claim. Those who feel confident they have a strong case may wish to see a lawyer first. After the case evaluation, the lawyer may take on the case with the assistance of third parties like investigators and medical experts. The lawyer could negotiate for a settlement.

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