A January 24, 2015, news report on the website of television station WCNC begins, "A mother, father, and their 17-year-old son were killed in a wreck Friday night in Hoke County when an impaired driver sped through a stop sign at an intersection and slammed into their vehicle."
The description of the fatal accident at the intersection of North Old Wire Road and North Shannon Road outside of Raeford, North Carolina (NC), saddens, but almost as depressingly, fails to shock. Drunk driving accidents that result in injuries and deaths occur too frequently to truly alarm most people to the degree warranted. According to statistics compiled by researchers at the University of North Carolina, 353 people died in alcohol-related crashes in the Tar Heel State during 2013. Collisions in which one or more driver was legally too impaired by alcohol to operate a motor vehicle safely (i.e., a BAC of at least .08) injured another 7,719 people that year.
In addition to taking the lives of the three family members in the car he hit, the DWI driver caused serious injuries to a passenger in his own vehicle. The driver at fault for causing the deadly Hoke County crash now faces several criminal charges, including speeding, possessing an open container of alcohol while driving, ignoring a stop signal and reckless driving.
Every drunk driving incident -- let alone accident -- should be avoidable. Simply staying out of the driver's seat after drinking too much reduces the odds of crashing or getting arrested for DUI/DWI to zero. Too few people make that responsible calculation, leading to too-familiar tragedies such as the one southwest of Fayetteville, NC.