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December 2017: a month for impaired driving prevention

Whether it's in North Carolina or another state, impaired driving is a serious problem affecting drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It has been estimated that one person in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related car crash every 50 minutes. Because of this, the White House has designated December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The proclamation was signed on Nov. 30.

During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, individuals are encouraged to promote greater awareness of the effects of impaired driving. The efforts of families, friends, schools, churches and community organizations are deemed essential to the task. It's also important to keep intoxicated people from getting behind the wheel. The proclamation states that in 2012, 4.2 million adults in the U.S. admitted that they drove while impaired at least once during the preceding 30-day period.

While alcohol no longer causes the majority of traffic fatalities like it did 40 years ago, the downward trend is beginning to reverse itself. In 2016, there were more than 10,000 traffic fatalities due to alcohol, which is about 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. The White House pledged to remove regulations for the makers of self-driving vehicles, smooth the way for providers of ride-hailing services and supply resources to law enforcement so that they can better prevent impaired driving.

Not all car accidents due to impaired driving can be prevented, so there's the question of how victims can move forward after they are injured in one. State laws give victims the right to pursue a personal injury claim in an effort to be compensated for things like vehicle damage, medical expenses and lost income. This is where legal representation comes in. A lawyer may help explain the laws, assess the victim's claim and even bring in investigators to try negotiating for a settlement with the other driver's auto insurance company.

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