We all know that drunk driving is no laughing matter. The evidence clearly shows that drunk drivers are more likely to cause property damage, car crashes, roadway injuries, vehicular fatalities and pedestrian deaths. Despite common misconceptions, even opting to drive slightly intoxicated (“buzzed”) contributes to the life-and-death dangers that we’re still seeing out on American roadways.
Even with all of the statistics and stories that have come about over the last many years, people continue to drive vehicles while under the influence, especially with alcohol. Hopefully, through continued education this tendency can be overcome as information about the consequences of drunk driving become ever more available.
The Staggering Statistics Behind Drunk Driving
Approximately 11,000 people were killed by drunk drivers in 2016 and 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sadly, this statistic shows us that drunk driving is still the number one cause of fatalities on American roads. On top of that, the in 2010 the FBI reported that there were over 1.4 million intoxicated drivers who were arrested.
These number do not take into account the tens of millions of people who drink under the influence each year without being arrested or involved in an automobile collision – in fact, some estimates put that number as high as 112 million people. Deaths related to drunk driving are shockingly predictable, and many police departments release forecasts each year that turn out to be eerily accurate.
The statistics surrounding drunk and impaired driving are truly astounding:
- At some point in their life, one out of every three people will be involved in a drunk driving-related collision.
- On average, 28 people die every day because of drunk driving-related car crashes.
- Someone dies in a drunk driving related crash every 52 minutes.
- Drunk drivers have often driven drunk 80 times on average before being arrested.
- More than a quarter of drivers in fatal crashes during weekends are impaired.
What Can Be Done to End Drunk Driving?
There are some signs of hope in the continual effort to eliminate the threat of drunk driving. Many organizations, businesses, and government agencies have come together in recent decades to combat the issue of intoxicated driving. Public awareness of the problem is at an all-time high.
Additionally, while drunk driving is still the number one cause of death on American roadways, the number of alcohol-related accidents have been decreasing steadily for years. Teen drinking, as well as drunk driving among adolescents, is also declining. These indications show that significant headway is being made.
All 50 states consider drivers to be intoxicated or alcohol-impaired if their BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.08 percent or more. Driving at or above this limit is known as driving under the influence (DUI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, in some states, officers have the discretion to arrest at lower BAC levels if they judge drivers to be impaired. These legal changes have been instrumental in reducing drunk driving.
Confronting the Problem of Drunk Driving Head-on
One of the most potent ways to reduce instances of drunk driving is by increasing people’s awareness of how much they have had to drink. People often underestimate the effects of alcohol on their motor skills, and even those who know the signs of intoxication can make mistaken judgment calls.
If you’ve been the victim of a crash involving someone who was under the influence, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. The personal injury attorneys here at Friedman Law Offices would be happy to sit down with you to review your case as part of your free initial consultation.