How Many Wrecks Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Approximately one-third of all traffic-related fatalities involve drunk driving, causing nearly a half-million deaths a year. However, some states experience high drunk driving fatality rates, and others that experience lower rates. Several factors determine how many wrecks are caused by drunk driving, such as driver age, location, and time of year.
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During the summer, there is a large increase in the number of crashes with alcohol-impaired drivers. These crashes are also more likely to occur in the morning, evening, and night hours. Approximately one-third of all alcohol-impaired crashes occur during the daytime. These crashes are also more common in rural areas and at night. In addition, more fatal crashes take place during the spring and summer months.
The highest percentage of drunk drivers in fatal crashes occurs among drivers between the ages of 25 and 34. Nearly half of all drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes were repeat offenders. Nearly one-third of all fatal crashes occurred during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Fourth of July is also a high-risk day for crashes with alcohol-impaired drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than ten thousand alcohol-related fatalities per year. Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 United States, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The FBI estimates that there were approximately one million drivers arrested for DUI in 2018.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities are estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it is hard to determine how many wrecks are caused by drunk drivers because statistics vary by state and location. The National Safety Council estimates that there were 10,511 drunk driving deaths from 2006 to 2016. There were also more than one million drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there were approximately 500 to 2,000 drunk driving incidents that went unpunished for every arrest.
In the state of California, there were approximately 1,069 drunk driving fatalities in one year. In addition, 73 percent of DUI convictions in California occurred for first-time offenders. While the rate of fatal crashes with alcohol-impaired drivers was slightly higher in California than in other states, California’s overall drunk driving fatality rate was the lowest in the nation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the United States was about 30 percent in 2020. There were approximately 11,654 people killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in the United States in 2020. Approximately one-third of these deaths occurred in urban areas and approximately half occurred in rural areas. In addition, about one-half of all alcohol-related fatalities occurred at night. In addition, 87 percent of all drunk driving crashes occurred on non-interstate roads.
The rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased by nearly 50% between 1991 and 2017. However, there are still thousands of people who die each year due to drunk driving.