Drunk driving accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities in the United States. These drunk drivers place everyone else on the road in danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 10,497 alcohol-related crash deaths in 2018. It is estimated that drunk driving causes approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities.
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While statistics vary depending on location and demographics, the overall number of crashes involving impaired drivers has been steadily increasing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for DUI in 2018.
Alcohol-impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states. However, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are two places where it is not. A person convicted of DUI for a second time is typically punished with a prison sentence of up to 4.5 years. There are also fines of up to $10,000 for a first-time offender. Depending on the nature of the offense, a person can also be subject to a temporary license suspension. If a person is convicted of a felony DUI, they can be subject to a revocation of their license.
Alcohol-related crashes occur in nearly every state in the U.S.; however, they are more common in urban areas. Additionally, they often take place at night. The most deadly days for drunk driving are the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day.
For people who are under the age of 18, the risk of a drunk driving fatality is the highest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-fifth of teen drivers are reported to drive under the influence. Teens aged 15-19 represent 2.5% of all traffic fatalities.
Young people tend to think that they are invincible. However, the reality is that they are taking risks that older adults do not. Approximately one-third of all drunk driving deaths involve repeat offenders. This is not only dangerous but can have a huge impact on the economy.
Drivers convicted of drunk driving in the past three years are 1.8 times more likely to cause a fatal crash than drivers who have never been convicted. Repeat offenders are at a greater risk than other drivers, which is why DUI laws are geared toward preventing them from driving.
The number of fatal alcohol-related crashes has been rising for the past few years, and the trend is expected to continue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the number of fatal crashes involving drunk drivers will increase by 9.8% in the next year. Of course, the actual numbers could be higher.
The majority of fatal crashes involving alcohol occur in the afternoon and evening hours. On a typical Friday, one out of three drivers involved in a fatal crash has a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the driver is not at fault for the crash. A sober driver instinctively takes evasive action to avoid a collision, but a drunk driver is unable to do so.