No matter the circumstances, a fatal car accident is always a tragedy. There are many possible causes behind these wrecks, including drivers going too fast for road conditions, following too closely behind another vehicle or driving while distracted by a cellphone or other device. However, there is one single cause that is responsible for approximately 1 in 3 traffic fatalities across the country: drunk driving.

While individual states often have lower legal limits, the federal blood-alcohol level at which point the driver is considered drunk is .08. There are millions of drunk driving incidents every year, and while all of these do not result in death or even injuries to victims, there are approximately 286 people killed on average every year in Wisconsin, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wisconsin’s overall drunk driving fatality rates are fairly close to the national average, with 3.6 people per every 100,000 in Wisconsin killed in a drunk driving accident compared to 3.3 across the rest of the country. However, 3.1 percent of Wisconsin residents admit to driving after drinking “too much,” compared to the national average of 1.9 percent. Unfortunately, for every person who admits to driving drunk, there are likely many others on the roads that don’t get caught or manage to avoid an accident, meaning these numbers may be far higher in reality.

While a fatal drunk driving accident is certainly worst case scenario, hundreds of people are also injured in these accidents every year and have to contend with massive medical bills, painful recoveries and less than helpful insurance companies. For those dealing with these issues, seeking more information on the possible legal options can be the first step toward taking their lives back.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in Wisconsin,” accessed June 05, 2015