What Percentage of Car Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Thousands of people die in car accidents each year because of drunk drivers. Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. These fatalities account for about a third of all traffic deaths. Moreover, these incidents contribute to a $44 billion annual drain on the economy.
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Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, coordination, vision, and depth perception. It also reduces the ability of the driver to understand other drivers’ actions. The results are often catastrophic for the survivors of these crashes. As a result, the number of motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol impairment is increasing each year. The CDC estimates that more than 10,000 people are killed annually due to this type of driving. The majority of these victims are young people.
In 2005, nearly 30 percent of teens in the United States reported that they had ridden with a driver who was drunk the previous month. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, there are laws in place that help protect young people from being injured by drunk drivers. These laws have been shown to save more than 30,000 lives each year.
There are many types of drink-drive collisions. The most common type of crash involved hitting a fixed object. Another type is a single-vehicle nighttime crash. The highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers were motorcycle riders, passenger car drivers, SUV drivers, and light truck drivers. In all, 63% of all reported road collisions involved male drivers. This number is lower for female drivers.
The number of drunk drivers in fatal crashes is lower for younger drivers, especially teen drivers. A teenager’s BAC was a factor in just under three of all crashes. This is a particularly dangerous time for a teen driver to be in a crash. A teen’s reaction time is slowed, and he is more likely to hit a pedestrian or cyclist. The resulting injuries can be life-threatening. The rate of alcohol impairment in fatal 2020 crashes was 3.1 times higher at night than during the day. In a single-vehicle nighttime accident, a driver’s blood alcohol concentration was 26%.
The highest number of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes occurred among drivers between the ages of 21 and 24. This is the age group that makes up the largest percentage of all drivers who are arrested for drunk driving. The overall percentage of drink-drive collisions is relatively low, but they are still very prevalent. In the United States, nearly one million drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
The numbers of crashes involving alcohol impairment are highest during the summer months. These crashes are more likely to occur in the evening and on weekends. The number of drink-drive collisions is lower for adults aged 60 and older. The overall number of drink-drive collisions is expected to decrease over time.
The final estimate of the number of alcohol-related deaths in 2020 is based on procurers’ fiscal reports, including breath tests conducted at the scene of the crash. The central estimate for 2020 is less than the final figure for 2019. This is not statistically significant, but it does indicate a lower risk of death than what was estimated for 2019.