As if the case for uninsured motorist coverage wasn’t made by common sense alone, a survey recently released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed an estimated 30.6 million people drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
Another 4.3 percent (an estimated 10.1 million people) drove under the influence of illicit drugs during the same time period.
Per the study, between five and 25 percent of drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents tested positive for drugs, and 18 percent of motor vehicle deaths involved drugs.
Additionally, in 2008, 32 percent of all traffic-related deaths were the result of alcohol related crashes.
The Midwest states appear to have the highest rates of drunk driving, with Wisconsin (23.7 percent) and North Dakota (22.4 percent) the worst offenders.
Meanwhile, the Northeast has the highest incidence of drugged driving, with Rhode Island (7.8 percent) and Vermont (6.6 percent) leading the way.
How This Affects You
Most auto insurers have an exclusion in their insurance policies that relates to drunk driving.
This means the insurer has the right to deny a potential insurance claim if the at-fault driver is found guilty of committing a crime, which certainly includes drunk or drugged driving.
So if you’re injured or your property is damaged by a drunk driver, you would need to have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy in order to collect for damages.
If not, you would have to sue the at-fault driver and hope to collect any awarded damages directly from them. Good luck with that!