How Many People Are Killed by Drunk Driving?
Alcohol-related driving is a major cause of death and is illegal in all 50 states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks and reports on drunk driving accidents, including how many people were killed in these crashes. In 2018, more than 10,500 people died in alcohol-related crashes. While the rate of alcohol-impaired fatalities has declined in recent years, there are still plenty of people who are fatally injured in alcohol-related crashes each year.
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Although many factors contribute to the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes, the age of the driver is one of the most significant. Younger drivers are most at risk. According to NHTSA, 115,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 were killed in traffic accidents in 2018. Among those under 21 years of age, the drunk driving fatality rate decreased by 81 percent between 1982 and 2019.
When comparing the number of deaths from drunk driving to the number of total traffic deaths, the difference is quite substantial. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the average number of drunk driving deaths per state is 3.1. However, the actual number of offenses may be higher.
Because alcohol can significantly slow reaction times, it’s important to remember that driving while under the influence can be deadly. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also an unavoidable risk for the person who is driving, other motorists, pedestrians, and even passengers. It’s a shame that so many people are killed each year in these types of collisions, but it’s important to remember that there are ways to avoid them.
Drivers who are at least 21 years old are also responsible for a large proportion of drunk driving fatalities. From 2005 to 2017, the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities for this group declined by a remarkable 65 percent, from 21,113 to 10,511. Nevertheless, these numbers indicate that the alcohol-impaired driving problem is still serious.
The most dangerous days of the year for driving while intoxicated are the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day. During these two days, 255 and 253 people were killed in alcohol-related collisions, respectively. Also, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.”
Approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths involve drunk drivers. In the United States, 29 people are killed on average each day. Among those killed in these crashes, 13 percent were pedestrians, and 22 percent were passengers in vehicles that were involved in a drunk driving crash.
There are some warning signs of intoxication. For example, it’s important to watch for signs like struggling to stay in the center of the lane, continuously breaking for no reason, and other signs of reckless driving. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, call a friend and stay safe.
It’s also important to note that alcohol-related fatalities are lower for younger people, as well as for the oldest members of the population. Moreover, the number of alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 individuals is decreasing across the country and is expected to continue falling in the future.