Federal, state and local governments, as well as countless nonprofit organizations and law enforcement agencies, have expended enormous amounts of time, effort and money in an attempt to combat drunk driving. Despite their efforts, though, the fact remains that drunk driving is a problem that will continue to plague New York for the foreseeable future. In fact, whether such efforts have actually curtailed drunk driving accidents is debatable. The same is holding true for those who drive under the influence of drugs, which seems to be on the rise.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can pose a significant threat to other motorists and pedestrians who are nearby. One reason is because drugs and alcohol drastically slow one’s reaction time. Therefore, even if an intoxicated person is able to identify slow or stopped traffic, or a pedestrian in a crosswalk, by the time he or she hits the brakes it may be too late to stop in time to avoid a collision. This can also occur when an intoxicated motorist drifts into oncoming traffic.

Alcohol and drugs can affect other driving skills, too. Concentration, for example, can be diminished, making it challenging for a driver to focus on tasks such as following the speed limit, maintaining his or her lane and ensuring the vehicle slows in time to avoid traffic hazards. Judgment can also be impaired, which can cause an intoxicated individual to believe that driving in such a condition is okay in the first place.

While law enforcements may be able to impose criminal sanctions on those who cause a drunk driving accident, the reality is that those penalties will only seek to punish that individual, not compensate any victims for damages they may have suffered. That is why those who are harmed in a drunk driving accident need to consider filing and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver who harmed them. By doing so, these victims may be able to recover compensation for their losses, including medical expenses and lost wages, while at the same time holding the individuals who harmed them accountable for their actions.