Texas does not have a great record when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. As we note elsewhere on our site, the state ranked at the top nationally for deaths caused by drunk drivers in 2009 and 2010. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Texas also led the nation in 2013.
To really get a full picture of how big the problem of drunk driving is in the United States, one just has to look at data offered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC nearly 30 people die in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers every day. Put another way that means someone dies on U.S. roads due to drunk driving at a rate of one every 51 minutes. And the estimated cost of all the crashes caused by drunk drivers is figured at nearly $60 billion annually.
Nearly a third of all traffic deaths every year can be traced back to alcohol consumption. Somewhat rarer are instances of drug-impaired driver crashes. But even they are estimated to account for about 18 percent of vehicle driver deaths. Often the drugs have been taken along with alcohol.
It's important for victims of drunk drivers to be aware that the effects of criminal penalties are limited. The CDC says drunk drivers who get into wrecks are six times more likely to have been convicted of the infraction previously. But the criminal justice system doesn't provide any means for victims or their loved ones to obtain compensation for loss and suffering. And because the process if pursuing compensation can be challenging and legally complicated, working with an experienced attorney is important.