Drunk driving has been a huge problem in the United States for decades.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pegs the number of arrests in 2018 for driving under the influence (DUI) at 1,001,329, a staggering figure by any standard.
In the same year, more than 10,500 people died in drunk driving accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For all the massive resources used for campaigns against drunk driving over the years, far too many people still get behind the wheel and drive.
Some even get arrested multiple times within a certain period that they end up facing aggravated DUI charges in some states.
Sometimes, one can’t help but think that these drivers don’t realize that the accidents they could cause can take a heavy physical, psychological, and emotional toll on everyone involved, including themselves.
The Physical Impact of Drunk Driving Accidents
People who figure in a drunk driving crash rarely come out of it unscathed. Passengers sustaining minor injuries are common, and they would be the more fortunate ones. Others end up with injuries to the more vulnerable parts of their body, including the:
Depending on the severity of the crash, a passenger, pedestrian, or the drunk driver himself could survive a car accident but end up incapacitated due to injuries to the above-mentioned areas.
The brain is also prone to serious injury in an alcohol-impaired driving-related crash. Many survivors of a drunk driving crash have lost the ability to talk, walk, or even feed themselves because of a traumatic brain injury, depriving them of a normal life.
Limb loss is also a typical consequence of drunk driving accidents. In some particularly horrific alcohol-related crashes, victims end up with severe burns and live with constant pain for a long time.
Alcohol-related Car Crashes and Their Psychological Toll
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a mental health disorder that’s commonly associated with war veterans and those who have gone through a violent experience. Car crash survivors happen to be vulnerable to PTSD, too.
A drunk driving accident survivor with PTSD are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Flashbacks, a vivid reliving of the crash
- Difficulty sleeping
- Concentration problems
- Irritability/Quick to anger
- Emotional numbness
- Avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the accident
- Survivor’s guilt, questioning why they survived while others did not
The intensity of the above symptoms can vary over time. Sometimes, even the sound of something crashing to the floor can trigger a flashback. Watching a car crash scene in a movie will likely do the same. Being stressed out, in general, can set off more symptoms as well.
The Emotional Effects of a Drunk Driving Crash
Those who live through a car crash are likely to suffer a lot of grief, especially if they lost someone close to them to a drunk driver.
While some grieve accordingly, others could take it to the extreme and isolate themselves, shunning friends and family.
It’s also common for car crash survivors to feel a lot of anger, even rage.
Such emotions may become even more intense once they find out that a drunk driver caused the accident that killed or badly hurt their friend or loved one. It’s not unheard of for angry car accident survivors to wish for something violent to happen to that alcohol-impaired driver.
As for drunk drivers themselves, let’s not forget that they are also human. Feelings of guilt may already be eating at them since the accident, even more so if someone ended up paralyzed or dying because of it.
The worst part about the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of drunk driving accidents on survivors is that it may take some time for them to recover, if at all.
Then again, anyone who lived through an alcohol-related car crash should never lose hope. With possible compensation from a personal injury claim and unwavering support from their loved ones, recovery should never be too far off for survivors of a drunk driving crash.