As part of his efforts to adopt more strict DWI laws, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has been routinely claiming that Texas leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities. Today, the Austin American Statesman and Politifact put that assertion to the test and confirmed that it is mostly true. On a raw numbers count, Texas far exceeded any other state. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Texas had 1,235 DWI fatalities in 2009. The second place state, California, only had 950 deaths. Sadly, this is one area where Texas is leading the charge.
Even accounting for the number of miles of Texas roadways, we’re still not very good. Counting driving fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, Texas dropped only down to second (behind South Carolina).
Unfortunately, that means too many claims for personal injury lawyers based on wrecks caused by defendants driving while intoxicated. And far too often these victims aren’t getting the legal help they deserve. DWI claims aren’t just normal car wreck claims. There are additional steps that lawyers can take to help bolster the value of the claim. But as far as I can tell, many personal injury lawyers aren’t doing the work necessary to maximize the value for their clients. If you or a family member or friend has the misfortune of being hit by an impaired driver, make sure the lawyer you hire will do the work necessary to protect your rights.
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