The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 10,000 people died in traffic accidents involving drunk drivers from 2006 to 2016. Alcohol-related crashes make up over 15% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. These statistics can be a scary reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. It is important to be aware of these numbers and learn more about alcohol-impaired driving so that you can be more aware of what you can do to avoid being involved in a crash.
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Many different factors contribute to the number of accidents involving drunk driving. Location, time of year, and age of the driver are some of the key elements that influence the number of accidents. In some states, the number of alcohol-related crashes is much higher than in others. This means that you should be aware of the statistics for your state.
Alcohol-impaired driving is illegal in all fifty states. If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you may have to pay fines of up to $10,000. You will also face possible jail time. However, you can avoid paying these costs by simply avoiding alcohol and other drugs.
A large part of the problem is that a small amount of alcohol can significantly impair your judgment and ability to drive safely. For example, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) is considered legally intoxicated in almost all states. Despite this legal limit, drunk driving is still one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
As of the latest data available, 11,654 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2020. This represented a rate of 3.1 deaths per 100,000 Americans. Drunk drivers are a significant source of road fatalities, especially in the summer months. More than 60 percent of all alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred at night. Compared to other times of day, the risk of being involved in a drunk driving crash is 3.4 times higher at night.
Among the largest contributors to the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes are younger drivers. Almost half of all alcohol-related fatal crashes involved drivers under the age of 20. Another significant contributor is college-aged drivers. College-aged students account for 19 percent of all fatal crashes involving alcohol.
Drivers with a previous DUI conviction are more likely to cause an accident than other drivers. Repeat offenders typically face jail time, but first-time offenders can have their licenses suspended.
Most fatal crashes involving drunk driving occur during the evening hours and on holidays. Holidays that involve a high percentage of drunk driving crashes include New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, and St. Patrick’s Day. Those are the three deadliest holidays of the year.
The majority of drunk-driving fatal crashes take place in urban areas. Compared to other areas, the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes is lower in rural areas. Among those who died in a drunk-driving crash, 67 percent were unrestrained.