SWOV Catalogus


Impact of drunk driving crashes on families : dissertation abstract.
951373 ST [electronic version only]
Avent, P.J.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Vol. 55 (1994), No. 06-A, p. 1473

Samenvatting The descriptive study of 52 randomly selected fatal alcohol-related crashes determined that the effects of these crashes is deep and far reaching. Direct and indirect victims, including both drunk drivers and sober victims, had to simultaneously deal with multiple physical, emotional, financial and legal traumas, including stressful involvement with the criminal justice system. The 52 sample crashes involved 135 direct victims from 109 families. Each crash involved an average of two families, 2.4 direct victims, and 17 indirect victims. Nearly half (48.8 per cent) of the direct victims were killed. Over half of the victims (57 per cent) were in the drunk driver's car, and over half of these were killed. Drunk drivers tended to be male (83 per cent) and disproportionately of an ethnic minority. Questionnaires detailing more personal information about the effects of the crash were returned by 18 families representing 15 crashes. Surviving direct victims reported that the crash caused up to six traumas each. These included injury, grief, life changes, financial strains, health problems, nursing care, legal stress, emotional traumas, or other traumas. The crashes costs families an average of $28,435 per family, with 96.5 per cent of this borne by innocent people. A legal hearing was held in only 5 of the 15 crashes; only one resulted in a prison sentence, and two other drunk drivers were given 10 year probation each. Many people who were not actually in the crash were deeply affected. An average of 7.6 indirect victims were named for each family involved in the sample crashes. Of these indirect victims, 62 per cent faced three or more traumas each. The responses of indirect victims can be characterized by one spouse's statement "No one ever prepared me for the immense effect that an accident I wasn't even in would have on me".
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