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Accident victim sheds light on the dangers of drunk driving

Accidents caused by drinking and driving are an unfortunate occurrence throughout America and Tennessee. The victim of a drunk driving accident can face serious injuries that require long-term care. While many advocacy groups try to increase awareness of the dangers of drunk driving through speeches and letters, words can only do so much. That is why one former teacher is using her horrifying experience in a drunk driving accident to deter others from becoming drunk drivers.

The teacher was driving friends home one night in 1996 when a car crossed the center line and slammed head-on into her vehicle. When she awoke in the hospital, the teacher learned that she was paralyzed. Since the accident, she has undergone 21 surgeries and is now confined to a wheelchair. However, she uses her experience and her injuries to advocate against drunk driving. Her struggles serve as a powerful example.

This touching story is one of many across the country and Tennessee that showcase the extreme harm that can be caused by a drunk driver. In an instant, a person's life can be physically, emotionally and financially devastated. While the criminal justice system seeks to deter people from driving while under the influence, it does little to ease victims' pain. However, a civil lawsuit can fill the gap left by the criminal justice system and directly compensate victims for their losses.

Drunk driving accidents are completely avoidable. It is, therefore, imperative that every step is taken to put an end to unnecessary accidents that leave Tennessee residents injured. Advocacy groups need to raise awareness, the criminal justice system must create harsher penalties and the court system must hold responsible parties accountable.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, "Former teacher and model turned MADD rep following debilitating crash," Natalie Neysa Alund, June 18, 2012

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