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How does impaired driving contribute to a car accident?

In the next few weeks one of the year's biggest sporting events will take place. The Superbowl is highly anticipated for football fans and non-fans alike. The game is special not just because of the teams, but also because of the fun party atmosphere that it brings. Those headed to Superbowl parties should remember to designate a driver if he or she plans to consume alcohol.

Impaired driving is a major cause of car accidents. Impairment fueled by alcohol has been estimated to cost almost $40 billion each year. In 2012 alone, more than 10,000 people died in car accidents caused by drunk drivers. If this number was calculated in minutes, the number would amount to one car crash every 51 minutes.

This type of devastation is closely studied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA was created in 1970 to combat issues such as impaired driving on the nation's highways. The work of the NHTSA is to prevent car crashes and all the associated costs that accompany these accidents.

In addition to the fight to reduce alcohol induced crashes, the NHTSA is also working to reduce other forms of impaired driving. With the advent of smart phones, texting and driving has become a growing concern. Of teens who were surveyed about texting while driving, over 70 percent admit that he or she has sent a text while driving. The percentage of teens who have read a text message while driving is even higher. Almost 80 percent of teens admit to reading text messages while behind the wheel. Impaired driving, in all its forms, continues to be a major cause of car accidents.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Impaired Driving," accessed on January 26, 2015

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