Thousands of people are killed and tens of thousands are injured every year due to drunk driving in the United States. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 2007, over 56,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Among drivers under the age of 18, vehicular collisions are the leading cause of death.
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The number of drunk driving deaths has decreased since the 1980s, but they continue to be an issue. Over a decade ago, the rate of fatalities involving drunk driving was at an all-time high. The number of drivers under the age of 21 killed in these crashes has decreased dramatically. In 2018, 1.1 people for every 100,000 Americans were killed by a drunk driver.
There are a variety of factors that influence the likelihood of an alcohol-impaired crash. Some of the most common factors are the gender and age of the driver, as well as the time of day. The most common crashes occur during the night, but about a third of the deadliest crashes occurred at dusk or dawn. The number of drunk driving fatalities is also highest during the summer months. Most of these crashes are on non-interstate roads, and almost half of all fatal crashes involve alcohol-impaired drivers.
In the United States, the risk of getting into a fatal drunk driving crash is greater for males than for females. The rate of fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers is also higher for drivers aged 25 to 34 than for younger drivers. Those who drive with a BAC of 0.10 or above are seven times more likely to be in a deadly crash than a sober driver. Those who have a child under 14 years old are also at increased risk of being involved in a crash. Those who are arrested for DUI with a child under 14 years old are convicted of a Class 6 felony, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
The most dangerous days of the year for drunk driving are the Fourth of July and St. Patrick’s Day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than a third of all the deaths from drunk driving occur on these days. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 10,511 individuals were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2018. Over a decade ago, the drunk driving fatality rate was at an all-time high. However, the rates have declined in most states. During the last 10 years, the number of people under the age of 21 who died in a drunk driving crash has dropped by nearly 70%. The most recent figures show that the rate of fatalities involving drivers under the age of 21 has decreased by 14%.
Approximately 115,000 individuals aged 16 to 24 were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes from 2004 to 2018. The highest rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths is found in Montana. The state’s 45% rate of drunk driving fatalities is the highest in the country.