How Many People Killed by Drunk Driving?
How many people are killed by drunk driving is an issue that many are concerned about. There are roughly ten thousand deaths every year that are alcohol-related. However, it is important to understand that the number of people killed in an alcohol-related crash varies by gender, race, age, and the vehicle involved. Regardless of the person or vehicle involved, the rate of alcohol-related fatalities has decreased in the last decade.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates state drunk driving statistics. While the numbers vary, they show that alcohol-impaired driving is still a major problem in the U.S. As such, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaign and law enforcement officials are working together to increase awareness of this danger.
In the United States, drunk driving kills approximately one person per minute. However, the rate of under-21 drunk driving fatalities has decreased significantly over the last decade. This means that two out of three persons will be involved in a drunk driving crash during their lifetime. During this period, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracked over 34,000 fatal crashes. Of these, 91 percent of the drivers involved in the crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent.
Alcohol-related crashes account for about a third of all traffic deaths. The rate of deaths related to drinking has been declining since the early 1980s. For example, alcohol-related fatal crashes have decreased by 70 percent among those under 21.
One of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk drivers is on New Year’s Day. On this day alone, over a dozen people die each year. The Fourth of July is also a significant time of year for drunk driving fatalities. Additionally, more than half of all alcohol-related crashes occur at night.
In 2002, 4,500 alcohol-related crashes resulted in death. These crashes occurred on both interstate and non-interstate roads. Almost half of the fatal crashes were single-vehicle crashes. Another type of alcohol-related crash is a crash involving a pedestrian. Pedestrians are more likely to be killed in a drunk-driving accident than other passengers in a vehicle.
Among the top 10 states with the highest number of alcohol-related fatalities were Arizona, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Texas. Each state has an average of about five fatalities per million residents. Wyoming and South Carolina have the second and third highest rates. Other top states include Alaska, New Jersey, and Montana. Except for Alaska, all of the states with the highest rates of alcohol-related fatalities are located in the West.
Drivers under the age of 21 are at the greatest risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash. Drivers under the age of 21 are responsible for about a third of all alcohol-related traffic deaths. Although the rate of drunk driving fatalities has decreased, it remains a serious problem.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have decreased at a faster rate for young adults than older adults. For example, between 1982 and 2002, the rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths for 16 to 20-year-olds decreased by 56 percent.