When Police Officers Deliver Tragic News : Someone Has Been Killed in a Maryland Drunk Driving Accident

In our 20+ years of work as Baltimore County, Maryland drunk driver accident injury lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand the terrible toll drunk driving crashes take on individuals and families. In an instant, lives are changed forever. In 2009, 162 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Maryland — an increase from the 145 Md. drunk-driving fatalities in 2008*. People who survive these crashes may suffer serious injuries, including debilitating brain and spine injuries. All because someone got behind the wheel and drove under the influence of alcohol in Maryland.

Baltimore County, Md. injury attorneys understand the grief families suffer when a drunk driving crash claims the life of a loved one. Maryland law enforcers also work with families who suffer tremendous loss in these traffic crashes. In fact, police are charged with the unimaginably difficult task of informing a family that a loved one has been killed in a drunk driving crash.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) announced a new training program to help law enforcement learn how to inform families of a drunk driving related death. MADD found that police officers are often not adequately trained to deliver such unthinkable news. According to a MADD blog article:

A 2001 University of Florida study found that 41 percent of death notifiers had received neither classroom nor experiential training in death notification, although 70 percent had performed at least one notification. As a result, most victims report that this type of early interaction added grief to their experience, rather than making it easier.

MADD works to train law enforcement on compassionate ways to deliver death notifications and to offer families resources to deal with their grief. The organization recently announced plans to create an online course for Oct. 2012 that will help “train officers, first responders, social workers and medical personnel on how to compassionately deliver death notifications.”

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) works to raise public awareness about preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. The organization lobbies lawmakers to strengthen laws against drunk driving. MADD’s National President, Jan Withers, who comes from Maryland, campaigned to lower the illegal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers from a .10 BAC to a .08 BAC, both on the national level and in our state of Maryland. MADD also puts human faces on drunk driving fatality statistics.

As Sparks, Maryland DUI / DWI accident injury attorneys, we sympathize with our clients and with every family who has suffered a loss due to a drunk driver.

*Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland : 2005-2009 (PDF)

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Maryland Governor Aims to Curb Drunk Driving Traffic Accidents and Deaths (Feb. 5, 2010)


Preparing officers for a life altering task
MADD Oct. 26, 2011
Police trained in delivering tragic news
USA Today Oct. 25, 2011

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