You may be wondering how many people die from drunk driving in the United States every year. While the numbers may vary slightly between states, there are some commonalities. In 2018, for example, the rate of drunk driving fatalities in Montana was 8.28 per 100,000 people. The next highest rate is Wyoming with 6.06 fatalities per 100,000 people, and South Carolina is third with 5.74. The District of Columbia has the lowest rate with only 0.77 fatalities per 100,000 people. Other high-risk states include New York and New Jersey.
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Every year, more than 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. Though these fatalities aren’t always the result of intoxicated driving, they do affect many people in many different ways. Those under the age of 21 are especially at risk, making up nearly a quarter of the total traffic deaths. Men are also more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol than women, accounting for more than 80 percent of the fatalities, as well as most arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol-impaired driving is especially dangerous during the night, with fatal crashes at that time of day being three times higher than during other times of the day. In 2018, nearly ten percent of all alcohol-related crashes occurred at night, while only one percent occurred at dawn. In addition, alcohol-impaired driving is particularly dangerous for drivers during the weekend, with nearly double the number of accidents happening.
The number of alcohol-impaired driving crashes increased nationwide between 2015 and 2016. While the number of fatal crashes increased, the number of crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers decreased in 29 states. Approximately half of the fatal crashes involved people who were 21 and older. Of those, 86 percent occurred on non-interstate roads. In addition, more women were involved in alcohol-impaired driving crashes than men. According to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people of Asian descent have a lower risk of alcohol-impaired driving. However, those who are African American and Hispanic are at a greater risk of alcohol-impaired crashes.
Moreover, alcohol-impaired driving is a significant cause of pedestrian fatalities. About 15 percent of drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities were impaired by alcohol. Alcohol-impaired driving is a problem for other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
The rate of arrests for DUIs is on the decline across the country, but not everywhere. According to the latest figures, about 6.1% of arrests are made of young drivers under the age of twenty-one. These drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While this rate is still high, the number of arrests for young drivers has been steadily decreasing.
Interestingly, these arrests are not only reported by police officers; they are also reported by schools. Schools are required by law to report any incident that involves alcohol on school grounds. Though this data can’t differentiate youth from adults on school property, it is useful for law enforcement and treatment planning.
Research conducted on road accidents has indicated that a driver’s BAC can significantly affect their driving ability. Among other things, higher BAC levels reduce reaction time. Drivers with a BAC of 0.05 g/L showed significant decrements in critical driving tasks, such as lane change and braking. Further, they reported impaired judgment and a decrease in attention.
The World Health Organization maintains a database of BAC limits for every country. The legal limit is 0.05 g/dL in many countries. This limit is now enforced in some jurisdictions, including the United States and Canada. The Scottish Road Safety Act of 2014 also reduced the BAC limit to 0.05 g/dL.
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