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How big of a problem is drunk driving in Washington?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Car Accidents |

Washington still has a number of drunk drivers on the road despite decades now of law enforcement efforts and public awareness campaigns aimed at eliminating this very dangerous behavior.

Compared to other states, Washington does not seem to have a huge problem with drunk drivers. The percentage of fatalities related to alcohol, as part of the total number of traffic fatalities, is a bit higher than the national average, coming in at just over 33%.

That said, the rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths per 100,000 people is 2.3, significantly less than the national average of 3.2.  As additional good news, these numbers have been on a steady decline, at least through 2018.

Still, even one traffic death related to alcohol is one too many. Moreover, these numbers do not include the many other people who survive but come away from a drunk driving accident with debilitating injuries.

A person will need more than the criminal justice system to get compensation

Like other states, Washington will impose strict criminal penalties on those who drive drunk and cause severe accidents. However, victims need to realize that, ultimately, the criminal justice system is not designed to compensate them for their losses.

Seattle-area victims of course deserve full compensation for losses due to a drunk driver. It is not always the case that they just have to accept the offer from the reckless driver’s insurance company, even if the offer is for the limits of the driver’s policy.

There may be other sources of compensation as well, including a victim’s underinsured motorist coverage. The drunk driver may in some cases have additional property with which he or she can pay a judgment.

In some cases, even a restaurant or bar may be responsible to pay compensation if, for example, the business served the drunk driver when he or she was already visibly intoxicated.

A victim of a drunk driving accident in the Seattle area is entitled to just compensation.  He or she should evaluate all of his or her legal options carefully.