Despite an increased awareness on the dangers of drunk driving, one-third of all traffic deaths in Maryland are still attributed to alcohol use each year. In 2009, drunk driving was a factor in 162 traffic deaths in the state.

Drunk driving costs the state millions of dollars each year and impacts hundreds of lives.

In Maryland, anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (a DWI) could lose their license for six months, spend a year in jail, and pay $1,000 in fines. These penalties are even possible for first time offenders.

You might think that harsh penalties would be enough to keep drunk drivers off the roads. Unfortunately, people continue to drink and drive despite these penalties. However, the penalties do not represent the real danger associated with drunk driving. These dangers associated with drunk driving are the real concern:

Drunk drivers are more likely to crash.

It's a fact: Alcohol slows your reflexes and inhibits your ability to respond to traffic lights, other vehicles and weather conditions.

A blood alcohol content of .10, slightly over the legal limit, makes the driver seven times more likely to crash than someone who is sober. The likelihood of crashing only increases with more alcohol.

Underage drinkers are more susceptible.

New drivers and alcohol are a deadly mix. In 2006, nearly 20 percent of all teenage drivers killed in car crashes had been drinking.

Maryland has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. Anyone under 21 who is caught driving with any level of alcohol in their blood will automatically have their license suspended or revoked.

Alcohol doesn't always take effect immediately.

People respond to alcohol differently, and in some cases a drink takes longer to absorb into the body. This is particularly dangerous if the drink starts to set in after the driver is already behind the wheel.

‘Feeling' sober means nothing.

Your feelings are not a good gauge of your blood alcohol content. Some people charged with a Maryland DUI are surprised to find that their blood alcohol content is so high. They may not even be aware that their reflexes have been (even slightly) impaired.

Drinking impairs your judgment.

This includes your ability to determine whether you are sober enough to drive. Do not take that risk. If you are wondering whether you are too drunk to drive, then you likely are.

Don't gamble with your life. Don't drink and drive.

When you get behind the wheel drunk, you are more likely to hurt yourself or another person. Maryland injury attorneys can help victims who have been injured by drunk drivers.

If you or someone you love has already been hurt in a Maryland car crash, don't turn to just any Maryland accident lawyer. Turn to the experienced Maryland car accident attorneys of Nickelsporn & Lundin at 301-942-9118 or toll-free, 1-800-875-9700.