Drunk driving is a serious crime, with statistics revealing that it claims the lives of approximately 11,654 people every single day. These statistics also reveal the staggering number of innocent lives lost due to drunk drivers. Throughout the United States alone, people drink and drive 121 million times each year, or over 300,000 times a day. Yet, only 1% of these drivers are ever arrested. The average drunk driver gets behind the wheel 80 times before they are caught. Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, chances are you’ve crossed paths with a drunk driver at some point.
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Statistics on how many people die from drunk driving crashes vary wildly across the country. In Utah, alcohol-impaired driving crashes accounted for 12 percent of traffic deaths. In contrast, the national average is 20 percent. Depending on the state, these statistics may also include accidents in which the driver was not at fault. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities can be even higher if motorcycle riders are involved. Those statistics are generally unrounded and not adjusted for gender or age.
According to the IIHS, seven of the 25 deadliest days in the U.S. occur during the holiday season. This is when the alcohol industry makes the most money, so it’s no wonder that this time of year is also the deadliest time to drive. In fact, during the holidays, drunk driving fatalities rose by more than 12%. In fact, in the period from 2001 to 2005, alcohol-impaired driving killed a person every 51 minutes. In addition, alcohol-impaired driving contributed to 32% of all fatalities during that time.
Statistics show that a substantial number of traffic fatalities are caused by alcohol intoxication. Fortunately, the number has fallen considerably since 1982, when the NHTSA made nationwide estimates. Between 1982 and 2002, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths was 33 percent lower than it was in the following year. During that same period, the number of traffic fatalities without alcohol was 43 percent higher. Additionally, the number of alcohol-impaired crashes per million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 62 percent, despite an increase in the number of people driving.
Despite these recent improvements in drunk driving laws, the number of alcohol-impaired crashes in the U.S. remains a serious problem. According to Institute of Medicine research, preventing drunk drivers from driving could prevent 25 percent of all crashes involving alcohol. And drivers under 21 are especially vulnerable to alcohol-impaired crashes.
Drunk drivers are the leading cause of fatal crashes on holidays, and the statistics show that from 2010 to 2018, drunken drivers caused 6,704 fatalities. This represents an average death rate of 112 per 100 accidents. The highest numbers of fatalities occurred in California and Texas, but Christmas and Thanksgiving were also among the most dangerous days for drivers. In Texas, Harris County saw the most fatalities during the holiday season, and alcohol involvement was a contributing factor in almost one-third of all fatal crashes.
Across the nation, drunk drivers are the leading cause of fatal accidents. In the United States, the number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers on holiday is higher than on any other day. Despite the holidays, many drivers choose to celebrate by drinking alcohol and driving. During the holidays, 16% of Americans drink more than normal, making them an especially dangerous time to get behind the wheel.