According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person dies every 52 minutes in an alcohol-related crash. That means that more than 10,000 people lose their lives to drunk driving each year.
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The cost of accidents involving drivers who are under the influence of alcohol is more than $132 billion a year. This figure includes the costs of medical and property damages, insurance rates and the human cost of fatalities.
Drunk driving is a serious crime that must be addressed as such, not just by police and the courts. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to help educate and prevent drunk driving accidents.
BAC & Alcohol Involvement in Crash Data
The NHTSA estimates that a driver is legally impaired when their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08 grams per deciliter. This level of intoxication is equivalent to having two standard drinks for adults, or more than half a bottle of beer for men and women.
Despite the dangers, a large number of people still get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In fact, 65% of U.S. drivers surveyed in 2021 said they were “very concerned” about the issue of driving under the influence, and more than 59% of those people said that they were “very or extremely concerned” about COVID-19.
Younger drivers are most likely to get into an accident while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the CDC estimates that 8 teens die each day in DUI crashes.
Teenagers are more likely to get into an alcohol-related crash than older adults, because they have less control over their decision-making processes and because they are more physically and mentally vulnerable. In addition, the CDC notes that alcohol affects how teenagers perceive their environment and how they process information.
Holidays and Seasonal Dangerities
In 2018, the deadliest times for drunk driving crashes were during holidays or the day after a holiday. New Year’s Day was the most dangerous day, followed by The Fourth of July and the day after St. Patrick’s Day.
Summer is also a dangerous time to drive if you’re drinking and driving. In 2018, more than a third of all alcohol-related crashes happened in the summer months, including June, July, and May.
The risk of getting into an alcohol-related crash increases during the overnight hours. During this time, drivers are more likely to drive impaired because they’re sleepy or distracted by alcohol consumption.
Even when a driver is sober, the risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash is still high. In fact, the CDC reports that drivers who are under the influence of alcohol are seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than sober drivers.
The consequences of being convicted of a drunk driving offense are often devastating, financially and emotionally. For example, a first-time offender can face up to $15,000 in fines and fees, as well as up to $6,000 in increased insurance premiums. Other penalties include relicensing, remedial education, legal expenses and more.
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