According to statistics provided by New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General, 30 percent of all fatal car accidents in our state involve alcohol. That number is staggering. To honor loved ones who lost their lives to drunk driving, New Jersey families and officials recently gathered in Trenton for the second annual New Jersey Remembers ceremony.

Local police and state troopers escorted the families of victims in a processional. In remembrance of their loved ones and also to educate the public, family members of the deceased took time to speak of their devastating losses before an audience of about 150.

State officials also spoke at the gathering. The acting director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety said the families in attendance had suffered a cruel loss. He went on to characterize drunk driving that results in death as “a pointless and preventable tragedy.”

“Educating the public and enforcing our laws are the keys to combating drunk and drugged driving,” he said.

While criminal law is often an effective way of holding drunk drivers accountable, there are also civil actions that can help the victims of drunk driving or their families obtain compensation for their losses. A personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim can not only work to hold drunk drivers accountable; favorable rulings on such claims can send a message to other drivers.

When a family member dies because of another person’s negligence, the grief after the sudden death can be crushing. Families should know that their pain and suffering do not have to be compounded by the financial burdens that often result from an alcohol-related accident.

Source: nj.com, “Families remember drunk driving victims at New Jersey Remembers event,” Joe Green, April 24, 2012