Thousands of people are killed in car accidents every year in the United States, and one of the leading causes of these deaths is drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 15,000 people die each year in accidents involving a drunk driver, and that is a significant number. However, the statistics on how many people die from a drunk driving accident vary from state to state. This is because the data is collected from a variety of sources. Some states have higher or lower drunk driving fatality rates than the national average. While there are differences in the data, there are also some similarities.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in nearly 30% of all roadway fatalities from 2004 to 2018. In addition, NHTSA reported 10,511 alcohol-related deaths in 2018. This means that roughly 30 people die each day in the United States from a drunk driving accident, or one person dies every 50 minutes.
Although a majority of drunk driving fatalities occur among men, some statistics are showing that women are also at risk. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 80 percent of all fatal crashes involving a drunk driver involved a male. In addition, a 2005 survey of teens found that almost 30% of teenagers had ridden in a car with a drunk driver in the month before.
The statistics on how many people die in drunk driving accidents are broken down by age, gender, and the type of vehicle that was involved in the crash. For instance, alcohol-impaired drivers were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes involving a motorcycle than a passenger car. The highest percentage of drunk drivers was involved in fatal crashes involving a 21- to 24-year-old driver.
Another study showed that young people were the most vulnerable to alcohol-related fatalities. More than two million high school students were drinking and driving each month, putting them at risk of a fatal crash. The number of young people involved in fatal car crash increased by three times the national average from 2001 to 2010.
Compared to drivers at the legal drinking age, there was a decline in the number of drunk driving fatalities. This is because the rate of drunk driving fatalities decreased by 68% over the period. This was the case for drivers aged 18 to 21, but it was not the case for drivers of all ages. In the age group of 21 to 24, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased by 7% in weekend nighttime crashes but rose by 24% in single-vehicle crashes.
While the data varies by state, the NHTSA reports that the most common types of fatal crashes are single-vehicle crashes, a hit and runs, and a driver hitting a fixed object. In addition, young people are more likely to be in fatal crashes involving drunk drivers than older drivers. This is because young adults often take risks that older adults do not.
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