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A fatal pickup truck rollover accident in Aiken County, South Carolina (SC), during Memorial Day Weekend 2014 highlights a leading danger of drunk and drugged driving that too many people who risk getting behind the wheel while drunk or high ignore.

A man later charged with felony driving under the influence of alcohol drove off the road near the intersection of East Frontage Road near Wire Road shortly after 8 pm on May 25. When the vehicle flipped, he suffered serious injuries. The man’s wife, and only passenger, died at the scene of the accident.

The at-fault driver appears to have been speeding before he lost control. Police have also filed criminal charges against him for operating a motor vehicle with a suspending license, using unsafe tires and driving with an open container.

As much carnage as drunk and drugged drivers inflict on pedestrians, motorcycle riders and people in other vehicles, it is the friends and family members they transport who often suffer the worst consequences. One statistic that more than any other illustrates how much DUI/DWI drivers can hurt those they love most is this finding from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention factsheet: “Of the 211 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010, over half (131) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.”

My Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney colleagues and I help victims of DWI wrecks every day. Still, we never stop being shocked and saddened by learning that yet another person made the reckless and negligent decision to drive after drinking too much or abusing drugs, then injured or killed someone. The decision to hand over one’s keys seems so simple — and safe. More people need to make it, especially when their spouse’s, child’s or friend’s life hangs in the balance.

EJL

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