There is no exact measurement for how many deaths occur because of drunk driving, but the numbers are staggering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States in 2018. This figure translates to about one person being killed every 52 minutes. While it is hard to quantify how many deaths due to drunk driving occurs, there are some trends to take note of.
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During the summer months, the risk of being killed in a car crash increases. This is because the number of cars on the road is greater than at other times of the year. Additionally, alcohol consumption tends to increase during the holidays. For example, during the Christmas holiday, more than 40 percent of traffic-related deaths involve drunk drivers. Similarly, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, several people were killed in drunk-driving crashes.
In some states, a first-offense DUI can cost $10,000 in fines and legal fees. A second felony conviction can result in up to four years in prison. Driving with a child 14 years or younger is also a felony. The risk of being killed in a car crash rises dramatically for teenagers and young adults.
Historically, the deadliest days of the year for drunk drivers are the Fourth of July, Independence Day, and St. Patrick’s Day. These days account for more than half of all fatalities on the highway. However, they are not the only holidays where driving danger is higher than usual. Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day are also among the most dangerous driving weekends.
In 2019, nearly 16,000 people were killed in drunk-driving accidents. The average age of the driver involved in these crashes was 22 years old, which makes young adults the most likely age group to be involved in a deadly crash. Despite this, the rate of drunk-driving fatalities has decreased by 70 percent among teens.
Most drivers who are arrested for a DUI are men. However, women are also at an increased risk of getting into a drunk-driving crash. Similarly, people who are African American, Hispanic, and Native American are at a greater risk than others. Moreover, young people are more likely to be caught driving drunk than older people.
Despite this trend, the amount of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities has been steadily decreasing over time. From 1991 to 2019, the national drunk-driving fatality rate declined by 51 percent. Among those under 21, the rate of drunk-driving fatalities decreased by more than 80 percent.
Although the number of alcohol-impaired fatalities has decreased, there is still room for improvement. In 2020, a total of 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving collisions. More than ten percent of these fatalities occurred on the weekends. Also, there is a trend toward lower alcohol-impaired fatalities in states where there is more widespread use of breathalyzers. By 2022, the drunk-driving fatality rate is expected to be 3.1 per 100,000 population nationwide.