During the last decade, the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving has decreased in most states. Several programs and initiatives have contributed to this decline. Among the most important factors are minimum drinking age laws and high visibility enforcement.
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There were over 10,000 deaths caused by drunk driving in 2018. These accidents are a leading cause of death for all ages. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving under the influence is the second most common human factor in fatal car crashes. The cost of alcohol-related crashes is estimated at $44 billion annually. In addition, 74,000 serious injuries result from such incidents.
Among young people, the rate of fatalities decreased by approximately 70%. The percentage of drunk drivers also decreased for both men and women. Compared to the overall population, the likelihood of intoxication is higher for young adults and lower for older individuals. In 2018, more than one-third of DUI arrests involved drivers under the legal drinking age.
In California, 113 fatalities occurred among drivers under the age of 21. The state was also one of the most affected by alcohol-related traffic fatalities. This is because many of the young drivers were caught in alcohol-related incidents. Over one-third of all DUI convictions were first-time offenders. However, a significant amount of repeat offenders were convicted of drunk driving. Moreover, 27 percent of these convictions were categorized as repeat offenses.
The rate of drunk driving deaths per capita in the United States has dropped over the past three decades. This is attributed to the success of minimum drinking age laws, along with high visibility enforcement. In addition, the increased availability of ridesharing apps and acceptance of designated drivers have helped decrease the number of fatalities.
The CDC reports that one person dies every 50 minutes in the US from an alcohol-related accident. There were 111 million Americans who self-reported a drunk driving incident during the past year. There were more than 230,000 DUI arrests in the same period. Despite the decrease in DUI deaths, the rate of DUI deaths per 100,000 remains above average. There were 10,497 alcohol-related crash deaths in 2018. During this time, the average age of victims of these crashes was 30 years old. Considering the increasing number of young people on the roads, this means that there is a lot of work to be done to prevent future fatalities.
According to the NHTSA, about half of all alcohol-related crashes are found on urban streets. Moreover, more than a third of alcohol-related crashes occur at night. Motorcycles account for almost a quarter of all alcohol-related fatalities. In 2020, 44,128 crashes were caused by drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. The District of Columbia had the lowest rate of deaths due to drunk driving in the country.
The number of alcohol-related deaths is expected to continue declining, but there are still many people who end up dying as a result of these incidents. The CDC estimates that about one-third of alcohol-related deaths in the United States are fatal accidents.