How Many Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is a preventable crime that causes thousands of deaths each year. It’s also the number one killer of teens and young adults. Alcohol affects the brain and impairs judgment and reasoning, making it impossible to drive safely. Alcohol is a contributing factor in over 30% of all traffic accidents.
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A study of traffic fatalities in the United States in 2018 revealed that over 2,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes. The numbers for 2019 are higher than they were the previous year, and drunk driving is the leading cause of death for teenagers. More than 16,000 people under the age of 24 are killed in alcohol-related collisions each year.
These statistics are based on unrounded estimates, which include the number of people involved in a crash, not the driver’s blood alcohol level. The rate of alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 population is a better measure of how many drunk drivers are killing Americans each year.
While most fatal alcohol crashes occur at night or on days that are cloudy or rainy, a small percentage of fatal drunk driving crashes occurred during the day. This was mainly due to drunk drivers not realizing that their vehicle’s visibility was diminished.
One person dies every 50 minutes from a drunk driving accident. During the summer months, the number of drunk driving fatalities increases. The most dangerous day of the year is the Fourth of July. However, other holidays pose a high risk, including Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. There are also more drunk driving fatalities in May and June.
In 2010, there were nearly 33,000 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Of these, 5.26% of the total cost of societal harm was attributed to fatalities caused by intoxicated drivers. Despite a decrease in the number of intoxicated fatalities in recent years, alcohol-related driving continues to be a major problem.
Overall, the number of drunk driving fatalities in the United States dropped by about 18 percent from 2004 to 2011. However, ten states had the highest rate of fatal alcohol crashes per capita. Those in the top ten included Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina.
Montana had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. Of the 88 alcohol-involved crashes in the state, 45% of the people involved were convicted of driving under the influence. Additionally, the 21- to 24-year-old age group had the most alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes.
The average drunk driver has driven about 80 times before being arrested for a DUI. About a third of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on suspended licenses. Other two-thirds of those arrested for a DUI are first-time offenders.
Driving under the influence is illegal in all fifty states. Drivers can be found guilty of DUI and fined up to $10,000. Felony convictions can result in up to 2.5 years in prison. If a driver has a second or subsequent felony conviction, they can get up to 4.5 years in prison.