How Many Deaths Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Thousands of people die every year in drunk driving crashes. It is illegal to drive while intoxicated in all 50 states, with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and some other states having special laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on alcohol-related crash statistics and estimates the number of fatalities nationwide.
(Looking for a Collision Lawyer? Contact us Today! Click here: Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me)
According to the NHTSA, the number of deaths caused by drunk driving is over 10,000 per year. One out of every two people who drive will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. During the year, drivers under the age of 21 make up about 9 percent of all alcohol-impaired drivers. In 2019, the rate of under-21 drunk driving fatalities was lower than it had been since 1982. This statistic has continued to decrease over the last decade.
According to the National Institute of Health, over 56,000 traffic fatalities occurred in 2007. The CDC reported that 30 alcohol-related deaths took place in the United States each day. This is a decrease from the previous peak in the 1980s, but it is still a significant number of deaths. Despite the decline, over 2/3 of all traffic-related deaths still occur in alcohol-related accidents.
The NHTSA has been collecting these figures since 1982. The numbers are based on data collected from more than 34,000 crashes. These include alcohol-related and no-driver crashes. Among fatal crashes, drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.10 were seven times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than sober drivers. In addition, the percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes was higher for motorcycle riders than for passenger car drivers. During July, nearly four hundred alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred. The Fourth of July was the most dangerous holiday for drunk driving crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also estimates state-specific drunk driving statistics. They report more than 10 thousand drunk driving deaths from 2006-2016. In 2018, the agency reported 10,511 alcohol-related traffic deaths. In 2020, more than 11 thousand drunk driving fatalities occurred. This was an increase of 14.3 percent from the previous year. In North Carolina, an alcohol-related crash was reported every 71 minutes.
In 2004, the largest proportion of traffic fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers. However, this ratio has changed in the last few years. The number of traffic fatalities that involve alcohol has decreased by about 18% between 2004 and 2018. From the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2018, the total number of deaths from drunk driving dropped by 14%. In the second half of 2012, the number of deaths from alcohol-related crashes increased by about 7%. In the first half of 2019, the number of fatalities from alcohol-related crashes was down about 3%. In comparison, the total number of fatalities from drunk driving in North Dakota was relatively small. The state had only about twenty percent of the total number of traffic fatalities nationally.