Even though there are laws in all 50 states prohibiting drunk driving, there are still thousands of people who die each year because they are in a vehicle with a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major cause of death in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about one-third of all traffic-related deaths involve a drunk driver. There are also thousands of people injured in alcohol-related car accidents. The number of drunk drivers has declined over the last three decades. However, the number of people arrested for driving under the influence is still increasing. During the past year alone, there were more than 1 million drivers arrested for drunk driving.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drunk driving caused nearly 100,000 deaths in 2018. In addition to drunk drivers, many other factors contribute to traffic fatalities. These include lightning strikes, vehicles on the road in bad weather conditions, no-driver crashes, and other factors. The NHTSA also published a special report on ethnicity and impaired driving. The report found that Asians and Hispanics are at the lowest risk of impaired driving.
During the summer months, more fatal crashes involve drunk driving. The most fatal crashes are reported during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This period is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.
In 2010, the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes accounted for one-third of all traffic fatalities. In 2017, the number of fatal drunk driving crashes decreased by nearly 50%. This is due to the high visibility enforcement and several programs that help reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that these laws prevented over 31 thousand deaths in the past three decades.
While the number of DUI-related fatalities has decreased over the years, there are still more than a hundred thousand deaths each year. Nearly ten percent of all criminal arrests involve drunk driving. The FBI estimates that there are approximately one million drivers arrested for drunk driving each year. Fortunately, there are court programs that allow drivers to avoid a conviction for a DUI.
One out of every three people arrested for driving under the influence has a prior DUI conviction. This is one reason why repeat drunk drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior. Another reason why repeat drunk drivers are at risk is that they are more likely to drive while their license is suspended. Approximately 50-75% of DUI/DWI convicted people admit to driving while their license was suspended.
Drunk driving is an epidemic that needs to be addressed. Regardless of whether you’re a driver or not, there’s a good chance that you’ll cross paths with a drunk driver at some point in your life. If you’re unable to drive, consider taking a rideshare or calling a friend to drive you.