Every day, as many as 28 people die in drunk driving-related crashes in the United States — that’s one person every 52 minutes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,142 people lost their lives in 2019 due to alcohol-induced accidents.
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Drunk Driving Information
The percentage of accidents attributable to alcohol is staggering, with the NHTSA reporting about one-third of all car crash fatalities involving drunk drivers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-related crashes cost more than $44 billion yearly.
The CDC reported that in 2018, alcohol-impaired drivers were behind the wheel of a car about 147 million times.
A 2017 NHTSA data revealed that 32% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes while driving at night were drunk.
Weekends are the most dangerous. Alcohol-related accidents occur much more frequently on the weekend than on weekdays. Almost twice as many alcohol-related and fatal car crashes occur during the weekend, according to NHTSA.
And there were four male, alcohol-impaired drivers for every one female alcohol-impaired driver out on the road, says NHTSA in a 2017 study.
19% of the 50,930 drivers in fatal car crashes in 2019, were alcohol-impaired, according to NHTSA.
According to the most recent available data from the CDC, 7,573 deaths involving alcohol-impaired drivers occurred between 2009 and 2018.
Drunk Driving Statistics by Age
Adults aged 21 to 24 make-up the greatest percentage of drunk drivers – 27% while 25% of drunk drivers are aged 25 to 34. Drunk driving also affects teenage drivers negatively. In 2019, 24% of young drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in car crashes had blood alcohol concentrations of .01 or higher.
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How alcohol affects driving ability
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol is a substance that reduces brain function, impairs thinking and reasoning and also affects muscle coordination. All these abilities are essential to the safe operation of any a vehicle: car, truck or motorcycle.
The central nervous system of a person is affected negatively when the alcohol level increases. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine; it then passes into the bloodstream where it accumulates until it is metabolized by the liver. A human’s alcohol level is always measured by the heaviness of the alcohol in a volume of their blood. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood, crash risk increases exponentially. Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah where the BAC limit is .05.
However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect one’s driving ability. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.
BAC is measured with a breathalyzer, a device that measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath, or by a blood test.
Car Crashes Involving Teens
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for teens in the US, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver. In 2019, 24% of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes had BACs of .01 g/dL or higher.
To reduce alcohol-related fatal crashes among young drivers, all states have adopted a minimum legal drinking age of 21. NHTSA estimates that minimum-drinking-age laws have saved 31,959 lives from 1975 to 2017.
Men are most likely to be involved alcohol-impaired crashes, with 4 male drunk drivers for every female drunk driver.
4,733 people operating a motorcycle were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. 1,383 (29%) of those motorcycle riders were drunk (BAC of .08 g/dL or higher).
Motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage (25%) of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle types.
40% of drunk motorcycle operators killed in 2019 were aged 40-to-44 (the highest percentage).
Strategies for Drunk Driving Prevention
These are three of the best-known initiatives aimed at preventing drunk driving:
- According to the CDC, sobriety checkpoints by law enforcement officers reduce fatalities, injury accidents and property damage accidents on the road by about 20%.
- On Saturation Saturday, the Saturday before Labor Day, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) teams up with law enforcement officers to host media events and promote awareness.
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, the campaign from NHTSA that runs from Dec. 18 through Jan. 1, aims to educate drivers about the dangers of drunk driving.
Recent Tragedy: Two Killed After Drunk Driver Rear-Ends Car in Coral Springs
Florida Highway Patrol says two people were killed after a deadly crash in Coral Springs in Broward County.
According to authorities, the incident which occurred on University Drive happened at about 3am when the driver of an SUV failed to stop at a red light and ran into the rear of a sedan. The impact of the crash forced the sedan to overturn, leading to the death of the driver and the passenger.
Officials said when first responders arrived at the scene they found alcohol inside the SUV and a breathalyzer test revealed that he was driving under the influence.
The SUV driver was booked by police and authorities said he would be charged.
Details of the victim was not released by officials.
What To Do If You Are Hit by A Drunk Driver
The first step in pursuing a crash involving a drunk driver is to reach-out to an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the many questions that you will have about the legal process and potential compensation for your medical bills and other possible claims. An attorney will review all of the facts to find out who was at fault in the crash. The next step is to look over the accident reports, speak to witnesses and other evidence to determine accident fault. They will ensure that all filing deadlines are met, including notice requirements for claims against the government.
Accidents involving drunk drivers sometimes have one or more drivers involved. This means that there can be multiple insurance companies involved. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will negotiate with all parties at fault, and their insurance companies, with the goal to reach a settlement agreement without ever having to go actually go to trial. If they cannot reach an agreement that provides you with the compensation that you deserve, they will then pursue your financial recovery in court.
In an accident involving a drunk driver? The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help.
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