How Many Deaths Occur Because of Drunk Driving?
There are several factors to consider when answering the question “how many deaths occur because of drunk driving”. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many of these crashes. This is true for drivers and passengers. But the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes also varies depending on the type of person involved. For instance, a pedestrian is more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash than a cyclist.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of more than 34,000 fatal crashes. It determined that driving under the influence is the second most common human factor in fatal car crashes. It accounts for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities. Even though most fatal crashes do not involve bad weather conditions, there are still signs to look for when a driver is impaired. Some of these signs include: swerving, continuously breaking for no apparent reason, and driving negligently.
Drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher were three times as likely to be involved in a deadly crash as those with a BAC of less than 0.08 percent. Furthermore, those who were injured in a deadly drunk driving crash were more likely to be a passenger in a vehicle with a drunk driver or to be driving from a bar or restaurant.
During the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”, a period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, more than a quarter of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involve drunk drivers. As such, these days should be a concern for everyone.
Fourth of July is the most dangerous day of the year for drunk drivers. A whopping 253 people died in alcohol-related crashes on that day. Other holiday periods can be dangerous as well. During the week, the number of drunk driving deaths is lower than on the weekends. However, on Saturday and Sunday, the rate of death significantly increased.
On New Year’s Day, the deadliest day of the year, 255 people died in drunk-driving crashes. This is almost twice as many as on the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly a third of all traffic fatalities occur during these two days.
Christmas is another high-risk day for drinking and driving. More than a dozen children under the age of 14 died in traffic accidents on that day in 2009. Another reason this day is a high risk is the large number of people who will be on the road. Whether it’s because of the holiday’s popularity or the extra traffic on the road, drivers need to be on the alert.
While the exact number of DUI arrests is not known, it is estimated that ten percent of all criminal arrests are for driving under the influence. Considering that more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in the United States last year, this should be a major concern.