Every year, more than a thousand kids die in drunk driving accidents. While the number of deaths attributed to drunk driving may vary from state to state, it is important to remember that drunk driving accounts for nearly half of all car crashes. Approximately seventy-four thousand people suffer serious injuries in these crashes each year.
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The statistics are sobering. In the past ten years, more than 2,200 children have died in drunk driving crashes. However, this number has decreased. The study examined data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which keeps track of fatal car crashes. According to the data, more than half of these deaths involved children. And those children are often in vehicles driven by drunk drivers, as the impaired driver is less likely to use proper restraints for children.
According to NHTSA data, over a quarter of American drivers have admitted to drinking and driving within the past year. The percentage of drivers who drink and drive increased over the past decade, but male and female drivers are equally at risk.
Alcohol-impaired driving is a growing problem that can lead to disastrous results. In 2018, more than 10,500 people died in alcohol-related crashes. The number of crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers increased by 9% from the previous year, despite a decrease in the number of vehicle miles traveled. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an alcohol-impaired driver is responsible for the death of 1 person every 45 minutes.
Between 2004 and 2016, alcohol-impaired drivers were responsible for more than thirty percent of roadway fatalities. That rate was significantly higher in 20 states, with North Dakota having the highest number of alcohol-impaired deaths at 40 percent. Alcohol-impaired driving was also a primary cause of deaths in motorcycle crashes and fatalities in no-driver crashes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides additional data on alcohol-impaired driving.
In 2016, alcohol-impaired driving was responsible for six thousand and forty-nine deaths. Of those, three thousand and eighty-two percent were motor vehicle occupants and nine hundred and forty-four percent were non-occupants of vehicles. The vast majority of these crashes involved drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Alcohol-impaired driving is especially dangerous for children, as it is associated with an increased risk of death and injury.
The number of fatalities involving child passengers in car accidents has fallen. Since 2001, the number of fatal crashes involving children has dropped by 41%. Despite the decrease, 65% of children are still passengers in car crashes involving drunk drivers. These crashes often involve young children who don’t have a lot of choice about who drives.
In 2016, approximately one-fourth of all fatal motor vehicle crashes involving children involved alcohol. In addition, nearly two-thirds of passenger fatalities involving legally drunk drivers involved a child. The decrease is consistent with the downward trend among crashes involving all age groups and coincides with stricter laws regulating drunk driving.
These statistics are alarming. As a parent, you want to protect your children by avoiding drunk drivers. A car crash is devastating enough, but children are particularly vulnerable to injury when their parents are intoxicated. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect your child from such accidents. First, you can make sure that your child is properly restrained. Secondly, you should always use a booster seat. This will reduce the risk of injury by 59 percent and keep you and your child safe.