Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Cost of Drunk Driving

The statistics are absolutely staggering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S. It is truly devastating that every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash. NHTSA reports that one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime and that, on average, someone is killed by a drunk driver every 50 minutes.

In California alone, the most recent Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) report shows that nearly 210,000 DUI arrests were made in 2009. In that same year, there were nearly 1,300 alcohol-involved fatalities in the state. Fortunately, CalVCP is here to help victims of drunk driving. Over the last two years, CalVCP has assisted nearly 3,000 DUI victims and survivors and paid nearly $6.5 million to help these victims. CalVCP provided financial reimbursement for dental care, income and support loss, medical bills, mental health treatment, rehabilitation, relocation, funeral and burial expenses.

CalVCP also works closely with organizations that provide critical services that make a difference in the lives of California violent crime victims. As one of the largest victim service organizations in the U.S., Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is one such nonprofit we proudly partner with and support. CalVCP has been diligent to provide training to their victim advocates on CalVCP assistance to victims of drunk driving, promote events such as Walk Like MADD, and participate in their Annual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance and Hope.

There is hope to this tragic epidemic; drunk driving and its consequences can be prevented. Education and advocacy will help lower California DUI rates. I thank individuals and organizations like MADD who are taking action to make our communities safer.