Approximately one-third of all drivers who die in a car crash are drunk, making this a leading cause of death. Despite the number of crashes involving drunk driving, there is a general trend toward decreasing these numbers. However, there are still a large number of people who get behind the wheel while drunk, putting them and others at risk. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stay safe while driving.
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One of the biggest concerns drivers have is whether or not there are too many drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are a staggering 111 million drivers who report driving under the influence each year. These drivers cause over 10,000 deaths and more than a quarter of all roadway deaths in the United States. In fact, in the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of female drivers who cause these accidents.
The average age of drivers involved in fatal alcohol-impaired driving crashes is 21-24. This group has the highest percentage of DUI crashes and accounts for a majority of all drivers arrested for drunk driving. This group has a 78 percent higher risk of getting into a fatal crash than the average American.
The most dangerous days for drinking and driving are the weekend, with more than twice the number of drivers being drunk than on a weekday. The second most dangerous day is the night, with rates of alcohol-impaired driving four times higher than on a weekday. On the weekend, about three-quarters of all fatal crashes are caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.
During the summer, the number of fatal crashes that involve drunk drivers increases dramatically. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that in 2018, more than 28% of all traffic-related deaths were caused by drunk drivers. During the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”, there was more than four times the number of alcohol-impaired driving crashes. These crashes caused an estimated $44 billion in damages and accounted for one-fifth of all roadway deaths.
In fact, in recent years, more women have been arrested for drunk driving than men. While the numbers of people who get behind the wheel while drunk has decreased, there are still many who fail to recognize the risks of binge-drinking. As a result, there are more than 30,000 deaths each year from drunk drivers.
Another holiday that has a high risk of DUI-related deaths is New Year’s Day. There were more than 116,000 arrests for DUI in 2019. During this holiday period, the DUI arrest rate is more than 116% above the average. Other holidays with high DUI-related fatality rates include Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Independence Day.
There are a few signs to look for when someone has been drinking. For example, if they are drowsy, they are likely to slow down or drift erratically, which is a sign of drunk driving. If they are texting or using a cell phone, they are more likely to be distracted.
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