Almost 1 out of every 5 children killed in car crashes is killed by a drunk driver. While this number varies widely from state to state, it remains a significant threat to the safety of children riding in motor vehicles. Alcohol-impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., but several different laws vary from state to state regarding how alcohol-impaired drivers are punished.
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In addition to alcohol-impaired drivers, several other causes can cause children to be injured or killed in crashes. The majority of child traffic fatalities are preventable. While some of these fatalities are unavoidable, others can be avoided by following a few simple rules and taking action to protect the children in your community. In addition, many states have enacted stricter punishments for driving under the influence of children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data on child traffic fatalities. The agency defines alcohol-impaired driving as a driver who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. Among the deaths involving alcohol-impaired drivers, 214 children aged 14 and under were killed in 2016. The rate of deaths per 100,000 children was the highest in New Mexico and South Dakota. The NHTSA also publishes annual data on alcohol-related child passenger deaths.
The study’s purpose was to examine the recent trends in the number of children that died in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. The research looked at a cohort of 16,676 children younger than 16. These children were either passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists. The researchers found that a drunk driver was involved in the deaths of over 230 children in the United States in 2018. Among these children, over one-third were killed as passengers.
The NHTSA’s report showed that while the rate of deaths of drivers ages 21 to 30 with BACs above 0.08 percent decreased by 56 percent over the last two decades, the rate of drivers ages 16 and 17 with BACs above 0.08 percent experienced a much larger decline. The researchers found that the rate of fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements peaked at age 18 for males and age 19 for females.
The study also found that women were more likely to be injured in crashes than men. The researchers determined that women were more likely to be injured in a crash because of their age and because they were more likely to be passengers. The rates of deaths resulting from the injuries of women were also higher than those of men.
The researchers found that a large majority of alcohol-impaired drivers were not wearing seat belts when the crash occurred. In addition, the researchers found that the number of drunk drivers who properly restrained their children was significantly lower than the percentage of sober drivers. This is because the slurred speech and impaired judgment caused by alcohol often affect the ability of the driver to properly restrain their child. A sober driver correctly restrained their child about 30% of the time. However, drunk driver only properly restrained their child about 18% of the time.
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