Drunk driving fatalities are a big deal. Despite the fact that it is illegal in most states, people still choose to drive under the influence of alcohol, which can lead to serious crashes and death.
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The number of people killed in drunk driving accidents varies, depending on the types of vehicles involved and who was involved in the crash. In addition, the amount of alcohol involved in a crash can affect the number of people who die.
Among all age groups, 16- to 20-year-olds are more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash than older adults. This is because the risk of death increases as a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises.
Drivers who drink and drive can face jail time and fines. In some cases, they may be required to install an ignition interlock, a device that prevents the car from starting if it detects any alcohol.
There is a lot of research on how policies and enforcement can reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths. These efforts have shown positive results and reduced the percentage of crashes involving drunk drivers.
Some states have laws that allow people to have lower BACs than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, which can help reduce fatalities. Three states have passed such laws in recent years and have seen a reduction in drunk driving deaths.
The numbers of fatalities from drunk driving vary by location, sex, time of day and weather conditions. For example, a number of deaths from alcohol-impaired driving occur when the weather is rainy and wet, but there aren’t as many drunk-driving-related accidents when it’s dry and clear.
In the United States, about 6,000 people die each year in motor vehicle crashes that involve a drunk driver. These crashes account for nearly a quarter of all traffic fatalities.
Those who have been drinking are also more likely to be involved in traffic accidents that cause injury, such as hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle. The number of injuries that result from these crashes can be much higher than the number of deaths.
Most of the people who are killed in alcohol-related crashes are other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. However, a small number of people die when a driver is intoxicated by alcohol and a passenger is not.
The majority of alcohol-related crashes involve cars, but the percentage of crashes involving trucks or motorcycles also is high. During 2020, motorcycle riders accounted for 27 percent of all alcohol-related traffic deaths and driver’s of light trucks accounted for 19 percent.
In all racial and ethnic groups, males were more likely to die in an alcohol-related accident than females. Similarly, the majority of pedestrians who died in alcohol-related crashes were males and the majority of passengers who died in an alcohol-related crash were males.
In the past decade, there has been a decline in the number of fatalities from drunk driving. Several factors are responsible for this: strong policies, increased enforcement, and proven prevention strategies.