How Many People Died From Drunk Driving in 2018?
Thousands of people die each year in crashes that involve a driver who is under the influence of alcohol. There are also thousands of people injured in crashes that involve drunk driving. This is a huge problem in the United States and one that needs to be treated as a serious epidemic. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the impact of drunk driving.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks traffic deaths and has been recording data on alcohol-related incidents since 1982. The agency’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign seeks to reduce impaired driving fatalities.
The most recent statistics from NHTSA show that over 10 thousand people died in crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 2018. These figures include drivers who were over the legal drinking age and those who were under the legal drinking age. The number of alcohol-impaired deaths has steadily decreased over the years, though it still accounts for nearly two-thirds of all traffic-related fatalities.
Several reports have pointed out that the most fatal alcohol-related crashes occur during the summer months. For example, more than one-third of all alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred in the first half of June and July. Among the most common types of vehicles involved in these crashes are passenger cars, SUVs, and vans. A large proportion of these crashes were also caused by repeat offenders, who are more likely to be impaired than others.
The amount of alcohol involved in these crashes is a bit higher during the night. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that a BAC level of 0.15% or higher has been shown to increase a driver’s risk of a fatal crash by sevenfold. In addition, drivers who were arrested for drunk driving in the past three years have a 1.8 times greater chance of being involved in a fatal crash than drivers who were not convicted of DUI during the same period.
The CDC estimates that 30 people die each day from alcohol-related crashes in the United States. The number of young people who die from alcohol-related injuries is about 2,000 each year. These deaths are especially alarming because vehicular collisions are the leading cause of death for minors.
The most important thing to remember is that drunk driving is not just dangerous, it’s deadly. It costs the United States $44 billion each year. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol in all 50 states, and Washington, D.C. has a zero-tolerance policy. If a motorist is found to violate this law, he or she could receive up to 4.5 years in prison. A fine of up to $150,000 may be awarded to the driver.
In addition to a DUI, a person who drives with a child under the age of 14 is guilty of a Class 6 felony. This charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison as a first-time offense. If a motorist has two or more felony convictions for driving under the influence, he or she is subject to a mandatory minimum term of 4.5 years in prison.