Why are Drunk Drivers More Likely to Survive the Crashes They Cause?

December 27, 2021

Being involved in a car accident can be a physically and mentally traumatic experience. The distress and anger are only heightened when it turns out that a drunk driver caused the crash. This is especially true when the drunk driver at fault walks away from the scene either totally unharmed or with less severe injuries than the innocent people they crashed into.

There are physical reasons why drunk drivers may suffer less severe injuries, but that doesn’t mean they should go unpunished or avoid paying for the harm they cause.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you might be able to file a compensation claim for your injuries and any other accident-related costs. Call the Louisiana car crash attorneys at Dudley DeBosier. They can ease the burden by communicating with the defendant’s lawyers and ensuring the drunk driver is held accountable for their actions.

Why Drunk Drivers Don’t Get Hurt in Car Crashes

One of the main effects of being drunk is that people’s reaction times and perception slows down dramatically. In many cases, this is the reason for the crash in the first place.

However, these slower reaction times also help the drunk driver avoid injury. Sober drivers tend to brace for impact if they can see they are about to crash, and tensing the body increases the risk of serious injury.

There are typically three points of impact in a crash: the vehicle hits an external object (such as another vehicle), the accident victim hits the interior of the vehicle, and the accident victim’s internal organs hit the inside of their body.

It is the sudden deceleration of movement that occurs when tensing that makes the impacts so severe. When the body fights against the momentum generated by the impact, the force becomes more concentrated. This makes serious injuries more likely to happen as the forces produced by the impact have less time and space to dissipate.

A drunk driver may be unable to brace themselves in time for impact. This means their body is relaxed during the crash. which allows it to go with the momentum rather than fight against it.

Why Drunk Drivers Don’t Die in Car Crashes

There is a theory that drunk drivers do not necessarily get less injured than sober drivers, but they are less likely to die from their injuries. The theory revolves around the idea that it is the body’s response to the injury rather than the severity of the injury that determines whether an injury ends up being fatal, and that alcohol helps numb the body’s physical reaction to trauma,

Research at County Harbor UCLA Medical Center supports this theory. They recorded fatality rates between 2004 and 2008. They found that 1% of drunk patients died of their injuries while 7% of sober patients died from theirs. The study established that, on the whole, intoxicated patients had a 65% chance of survival.

National data covering 14,000 patients reviewed by a Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles study showed that 7.7% of drunk patients with significant head injuries died. This compared to 9.7% of sober patients with the same injuries.

When physical trauma happens, the body releases chemicals that slow down the healing process. Researchers believe that alcohol acts as a buffer and prevents these physiological reactions, thereby preventing fatal complications.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Chances of Getting Hurt in a Car Crash?

Driving before driving is one of the top causes of accidents, so the best way to avoid injury is to never drink and drive, encourage loved ones to do the same, and if you see a driver you suspect may be drunk (weaving erratically, stopping unexpectedly), to pull to the side and let them pass you before calling police to report the vehicle.

Unfortunately, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver, a distracted driver, or simply a reckless driver, there is little chance that you will resist the natural reaction to tense up. However, you may be able to lessen your chances of severe injury in a collision by:

  • Ensuring you are wearing your seatbelt correctly
  • Positioning your seat well back from the airbag so that it has room to deploy properly
  • Adjusting your steering wheel so that in the event of a collision, your knees and legs will not come in contact with it.

Next Steps After a Drunk Driving Accident

It is your right to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you have been injured in a crash involving a drunk driver. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier today to schedule a free consultation and learn what you can do to get the money you deserve for what you’ve suffered.