Henry Carus + Associates | Injury Lawyers

What Percent of Accidents Are Caused by Drink Driving?

Man with a beer drink driving | Henry Carus + Associates

Drink driving accidents accounted for a significant percentage of fatalities on VIC roads in 2023—the worst year for fatal road accidents in 15 years. A total of 296 people were killed in crashes, with Victoria Police citing drink driving as one of the major factors in the increased number of fatal accidents.

A car accident lawyer at Henry Carus + Associates can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were injured or a member of your family lost their life in a drink driving crash. You may be entitled to common law damages as well as the benefits paid by the TAC regardless of fault.

Call 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with Henry Carus + Associates. Our lawyers represent the victims of drunk driving accidents in Melbourne and throughout VIC.

How Many Car Accidents Are Caused by Drink Driving?

According to Road Sense Australia, drink driving is responsible for approximately 30% of fatal accidents nationwide. More than one-quarter of vehicle occupants killed in road accidents are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.05.

These statistics do not include people who are injured in drink driving accidents. Sadly, it is often the individuals who are not drink driving who tend to suffer the most serious injuries.

How Dangerous Is Drink Driving?

Drink driving poses significant dangers, both to the individual behind the wheel and other people on the road. Key risks of driving under the influence of alcohol include:

  • Impaired Judgement: Alcohol impairs cognitive functions and decision-making, leading to poor judgement on the road. Drivers may underestimate risks, make reckless choices, or fail to react appropriately to situations.
  • Reduced Coordination: Alcohol affects motor skills and coordination, impairing a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. This can result in swerving, difficulty staying within lanes, and delayed reactions to obstacles (including other vehicles and people).
  • Slowed Reaction Time: Alcohol slows down reaction times, making it harder for drivers to respond quickly to sudden changes in traffic conditions or unexpected events.
  • Poor Concentration: Intoxication can lead to decreased focus and attention, increasing the likelihood of distractions and an inability to concentrate on driving tasks.
  • Vision Impairment: Alcohol consumption can cause blurred vision and reduced peripheral vision, compromising a driver’s ability to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and road signs clearly.

There are a number of popular misconceptions about how to stay below 0.05, such as eating a large meal to offset the effects of alcohol, drinking plenty of water, or even just sticking to ‘a couple of drinks’. But the fact is that the only way to avoid a drink driving event (a driving offence or driving accident) is not to drink alcohol when you have to drive.

Drink driving was such a problem late last year that Victorian authorities launched a campaign to debunk the myths and discourage behaviours that commonly put drivers at 0.05 or higher (‘Stop Kidding Yourself’).

While the campaign does an effective job of conveying the serious consequences of drink driving (losing your driver’s licence, having an alcohol interlock device installed in your vehicle, etc.), we feel it could do more to illustrate the devastating cost of causing an accident in which someone is injured or killed.

Were You Injured in a Drink Driving Accident?

The victims of drink driving accidents are entitled to compensation from the TAC for all of the following:

  • Medical treatment expenses
  • The cost of services and supports to aid in your recovery and return to work
  • Weekly payments for income support

If you are seriously injured in a crash with a drink driver, you may also be entitled to a permanent impairment benefit. This benefit is paid as a one-time lump sum to victims with an accident-related injury resulting in permanent impairment of 11% or more.

Common Law Damages for Drink Driving Accidents

Drink driving is inherently dangerous. People have known the risks for years, but they still make the decision to get behind the wheel intoxicated. In these situations, it is critical to explore your entitlement to common law damages.

Common law compensation is separate from the payments discussed above. You may be entitled to the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earnings to date
  • Loss of future earnings or earning capacity

Eligibility for common law damages is limited to those who meet specific criteria set by the TAC.  First, you will need to prove that your accident injuries are serious. Next, you will need to establish that the negligence of another party (in this case, the drink driver) caused the accident.

Common law damages are intended to compensate you for the severe impact of the crash on your finances and day-to-day life. Given the seriousness of drink driving accidents, this additional compensation can provide much-needed financial support. It may also give you a sense that justice is being done in light of the motorist’s outrageous decision to drive drunk.

What If My Loved One Was Killed?

Drink driving often leads to accidents in which one or more people may be killed. This may include the drink driver, the driver of another vehicle, occupants of one or both vehicles, and more.

Although no amount of money can bring your loved one back, the TAC provides support to families in the aftermath of a fatal accident. You may be entitled to the following:

  • Payment of ‘reasonable’ funeral expenses (up to $18,170)
  • Up to $19,280 for family counselling
  • Expenses for immediate family members who live more than 100km away to attend funeral services ($6,060 maximum)
  • Support for dependent spouses and partners; this may include:
    • A lump sum payment ($216,130 max)
    • Weekly payments for the loss of the spouse or partner’s income
    • The cost of hiring people to perform housework and/or provide childcare 
  • Support for a dependent child or children:
    • Fortnightly payments to a legal guardian
    • Allowance for education expenses
    • A lump sum payment, held by State Trustees until the child or children turn 18

Dependants may also be entitled to common law damages, but these claims are not administered by the Transport Accident Commission. Rather, family members whose loved one died in a transport accident must turn to the Wrongs Act 1958 (Victoria’s personal injury legislation) to pursue common law compensation for the loss of their relative.

In addition, those who suffer psychiatric injuries as a result of the death of a loved one have the ability to submit a TAC claim. Furthermore, if they are severely affected by the loss, they may be able to pursue their own common law compensation claim for nervous shock.

Serving Those Injured by Intoxicated Drivers

Though drink driving is often considered a societal problem, it is important not to overlook the very human cost of each transport accident. Obtaining justice for the victims is often overshadowed by efforts to punish the driver.

At Henry Carus + Associates, we believe You Deserve More. Our specialist lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of Victoria’s TAC legislation and how the TAC operates when faced with an accident claim.

We offer a unique Medical + Like Services Guarantee free of charge to ALL clients of the TAC (whether you’ve had previous legal representation or not). If the TAC refuses to pay for medical care or needed supports essential for your recovery, Henry Carus + Associates can get the expenses paid quickly.

Our firm is also well-versed in common law damages claims. When someone is injured due to the negligence of another (certainly the case in drunk driving accidents), we make it our mission to obtain maximum compensation on their behalf.

Contact Henry Carus + Associates for FREE today.