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Despite decades of efforts to criminalize drunk driving and educate the public about why it is so dangerous, drinking and driving has not gone away in California. In fact, there are signs that it is getting worse.

According to a study by the University of California – Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), 829 people in California were killed in DUI car accidents in 2012. In 2015, the number of deaths rose to 911, and in 2016, 1,059 people were killed — a 27.7 percent increase in just four years.

SafeTREC noted that more DUI-related deaths and serious injuries happen in Los Angeles County than any other part of the state. This makes some sense, given that L.A. County is the most populous county in the United States. But it does not tell the whole story.

SoCal’s driver culture could be a cause

Another interesting theory has to do with how people in Los Angeles get around. Unlike most other major American metro areas, L.A. lacks a complete and reliable public transit system. Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are available. But these can be expensive, given how spread out the metro area is compared with, say, New York or San Francisco.

That leaves driving after drinking. Though everyone knows it is illegal, not to mention dangerous, many drivers decide that it is their only way home after drinking at a restaurant, bar, sporting event or party. Of course, they could have chosen a designated driver instead — or just have stayed sober.

There are no excuses for drunk driving crashes

For victims of drunk drivers, the driver’s negligence can have lifelong consequences. If you are living with painful, debilitating injuries from a DUI collision, you may be eligible for complete compensation for things like medical bills and lost wages. Discuss your options with a personal injury attorney to learn more.