How Many Deaths a Day Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Did you know that drunk driving is a leading cause of death in the U.S.? Statistics show that about ten thousand people die from car crashes each year, and many of them are related to alcohol consumption. Thankfully, these accidents are rare, but a lot of innocent lives are lost.
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The number of fatal accidents is on the rise, especially in areas where alcohol is a problem. Drunk driving accounts for approximately 30% of all traffic deaths and nearly one in every three motorists in the U.S. has at least one DUI conviction. Those with a high blood-alcohol concentration are seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than sober drivers.
Alcohol impairs a driver’s reaction time and judgment. For teens, it’s even more dangerous. It’s estimated that about a third of all teenagers are involved in a car crash while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This risk is higher during weekends, and the chances of a fatal crash are more likely during the evening hours than during the day.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks statistics related to alcohol-related crashes. They found that about 147 million people were involved in an alcohol-related crash in 2018. One in every four cars on the road is being driven by someone who is impaired. These numbers vary by age, location, and gender. Statistically speaking, males are twice as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol than women. In terms of deaths, the number of DUI crashes increases dramatically during the holiday season. During the Christmas holiday, for example, there was a 59% increase in the number of alcohol-related crash fatalities.
The most commonly reported drunk driving fact is that a majority of crashes involve drivers with a BAC of more than 0.08. A blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the lowest legally permissible amount of alcohol to be consumed by drivers. However, the actual number of drunk-driving-related fatalities is more than double that.
While the number of deaths caused by a drunk driving accident is relatively small, the cost of such accidents is enormous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the costs of alcohol-related car crashes are $44 billion annually. This is enough money to provide for about five billion days of care for victims of such crashes.
Several factors contribute to the increasing rate of alcohol-related fatalities. More cars on the road mean more drunk drivers on the road, and drunk drivers are responsible for a lot of fatal collisions. Approximately one out of every five fatal collisions involves an alcohol-impaired driver, and there is an average of two injuries for every one fatality resulting from a drunk-driving crash.
As with most things, the rate of alcohol-related fatalities is varying by state, and the statistics are also different from region to region. For instance, Wyoming has a fatality rate of 6.06 per capita, compared to Montana, which has a rate of 8.28. Nevertheless, these numbers are still significantly lower than in previous years.