Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Unfortunately, in about 20 percent of cases, there is at least one legally intoxicated driver involved in the fatal accident that costs the child his life. A study in the June 2014 issue of Pediatrics called “Child Passenger Deaths Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers” shed some light on who these children are.
The data showed a surprising fact: many of the children killed by impaired drivers were actually passengers in the car of the person who was driving drunk. As Medical Daily reports, this is contrary to what many people believe about drunk driving crashes that kill children, as most tend to believe that kids are killed when a drunk hits the family car out of nowhere.
Whether the crash was caused by a stranger or whether the child was killed in the car of someone he knows, surviving family members could potentially pursue a claim for compensation. A Boston drunk driving lawyer can help those who lose loved ones in drunk driving crashes to understand their legal rights.
Children as Passengers Killed in Drunk Driving Crashes
Between 2001 and 2010, there were 2,344 children killed in crashes involving at least one driver who is impaired by alcohol. While collisions caused by drunk drivers have decreased by 41 percent, drunk driving injuries are still a serious risk to many kids.
In the majority of the crashes that occurred over the past decade and that resulted in a child’s death, the child was a passenger in the vehicle with the impaired driver. In total, 1,515 fatal accidents were caused by the at-fault vehicle.
These children were at risk not just because the driver was intoxicated but because other safety rules were also not followed. For example, 61 percent of children in the car with impaired drivers were not restrained at the time when the accident happened. Further, about a third of the impaired drivers who caused child fatalities did not actually have a valid driver’s license at the time when the collision occurs.
This research suggests that there needs to be stronger laws in place to protect kids and to prevent parents, relatives and family friends from driving drunk with a child in their vehicle. Drunk driving with a child in the car is a form of child abuse, and it should be treated as such.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has also urged stronger penalties for any motorist convicted of driving drunk with a child passenger, regardless of whether a deadly accident occurs.
Hopefully, stronger laws would make people think twice about putting their kids in danger by driving drunk when they are in the car. No one should ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they have had a drink, but it is especially important never to do this when kids are in the car and put at risk. Children don’t have a choice about whether they want to take the risk of a drunk driving crash, and caregivers and friends shouldn’t endanger these young lives.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
State Trooper Accused of Being Drunk, Refuses to Cooperate After Accident, May 12, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog