Alcohol-Related Car Accidents in Buncombe County Increase in 2011

The North Carolina Highway Patrol reports that it investigated more alcohol-related car accidents in Asheville and elsewhere in Buncombe County over the last year. The number of these accidents has shown a significant increase from 2010 to 2011, in spite of the statewide reduction, according to the Citizen-Times. Alcohol-related accidents in Buncombe saw an 18 percent increase. Records also show that troopers made 4 percent more arrests of impaired drivers than in 2010.
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Sgt. Pat Staggs of the state highway patrol called the uptick “bad news.”

Our Asheville drunk driving accident lawyers understand that, on average, someone drives at least 80 times while drunk before they are caught by law enforcement officers. Staggs says sometimes North Carolina drivers don’t think of the consequences, such as an arrest or serious accident, that can result from drunk driving.

One case that stands out in the mind of Assistant District Attorney Chris Hess is that of Jennifer Kessler. In that instance, an innocent motorist was killed when Kessler was reportedly drunk and driving the wrong direction on I-240. Kessler pleaded guilty to reckless driving to endanger, driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle. She was sentenced to 20 to 24 months in prison.

Hess says that even with this tragic story making local headlines, drivers across the state will continue to drink and drive.

Across the state, alcohol-related accidents dropped by nearly 5 percent 2011, which caused the number of fatalities to decrease by more than 10 percent. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in Buncombe County.

Last year, the number of people who died in car accidents in the County increased from 11 in 2010 to nearly 15 in 2011. Staggs reports that a majority of these fatalities were motorists who were not wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident.

He adds that seat belts may be your best defense against injury or death in the event of an accident and urged all motorists to buckle up every time they get into a motor vehicle.

2011 report for Buncombe County accidents showed:

-The number of traffic accidents decreased by less than 14 percent.

-Accidents involving speeding drivers decreased by nearly 25 percent.

-The number of motorcycle deaths dropped by more than 65 percent.

-The number of motorcycle accidents dropped by nearly 10 percent.

-The number of alcohol-related accidents increased by 4 deaths.

Staggs says that law enforcement officials have previously tried to focus on areas of the county where drivers often speed. These efforts have seemed to pay off. He says troopers will be using this same strategy to bust drunk drivers.

If you, a close friend or a family member has been involved in a car accident with an intoxicated driver, contact the North Carolina injury Lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.

Additional Resources:

Alcohol-related collisions rise in Buncombe County, by Romando Dixson, Citizen-Times
More Blog Entries:

More Fatal Car Accidents in North Carolina, Report Says, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2011

Bartender and Passenger Charged For Serving Underage Driver Killed in Montgomery Car Accident, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2011

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