What Percentage of Deaths Are Caused by Drunk Driving?
Thousands of people die each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. The NHTSA estimates that around 30 percent of all fatal crashes involve intoxicated drivers. These crashes are a serious problem that is often preventable. These crashes also cost the nation billions of dollars annually in car insurance costs. Fortunately, these crashes aren’t always due to bad weather conditions. Nearly half of all alcohol-related fatal car crashes occur in clear or cloudy weather conditions.
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In 2020, there were 11,654 alcohol-related fatal car crashes in the United States. This represented a 30 percent increase in the number of drunk driving crashes in the previous year. The average alcohol-impaired driver involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. The percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes was lower for children, young adults, and older adults. The highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 was among passenger car drivers. However, drivers of large trucks were the only group to have a lower percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers.
The percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in crashes was significantly higher at night. The rate of alcohol impairment was 3.1 times higher in fatal crashes that occurred at night. The rate of alcohol impairment among fatal crashes that occurred on a weekend was also significantly higher than during the week. In general, more fatal crashes occurred during the summer months than during the winter. The percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved was also higher among drivers aged 35 to 44, compared to other age groups.
These numbers demonstrate that drunk driving is an ongoing problem. The FBI estimates that around one million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in 2018. In addition, the NHTSA estimated that over one million drivers were arrested for drunk driving in 2018. In 2010, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 people dropped by nearly half. The same relative distribution of alcohol-impaired drivers and their vehicles was found in 2010.
The rate of fatal drunk driving crashes decreased by nearly seventy percent among drivers under the age of 21, from 15.5 fatal crashes per 100,000 people to 3.7 crashes per 100,000 people. However, the rate of fatal crashes per 100,000 people increased slightly among drivers aged 55 and older. Among drivers aged 20 to 24, the rate of fatal crashes per 100,000 people increased by a significant amount.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths occurred in the United States from 2006 to 2016. This is the highest number of drunk driving deaths recorded in a decade. The NHTSA also conducted a special report on ethnicity and impaired driving. The report showed that Asians are consistently at the lowest risk of alcohol-impaired driving. This was even though African-Americans and Hispanics are at the highest risk of impaired driving.
The percentage of drivers involved in alcohol-related crashes increased slightly among drivers under the age of 21, but the percentage of drivers involved in drunk driving crashes decreased among drivers over the age of 55. Drivers aged 25 to 34 made up approximately 23 percent of drivers involved in alcohol-related crashes in the United States.