Every 52 minutes, someone is killed in an alcohol-related car crash. The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08. By law, a driver is considered to be impaired at or above .08 BAC. But people are killed each year in car crashes caused by drivers who have alcohol levels less than the legal limit. So, even if you just feel a little “buzzed”, it is best to get a designated driver, or wait until the effects have worn off.
The number of fatalities from drunk driving have been steadily decreasing over the years. Yet, the problem is still significant. In 2020 there was even an increase in alcohol-related fatalities due to the effects of Covid-19.
Effects of Covid-19 on Drunk Driving
Covid-19 caused many people to stay at home and travel less. With this, many became bored or anxious and turned increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. As a result, the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities increased in 2020 even despite less travel.
Important Drunk Driving Statistics
Drunk driving kills over 10,000 each year
- One person dies every 52 minutes in an alcohol-related auto accident.
- Just under 30% of all traffic fatalities are due to drinking and driving.
Young people are more susceptible to death by drunk driving
Teens and young adults are more likely to drink more alcohol every time they drink. This can lead them to getting drunk before they realize what has happened. According to the FTC, consumption of alcohol more quickly impairs a young person’s driving skills when compared to all others. These factors lead to a much higher risk of death for those teens or young adults who choose to drink and drive.
- 42% of all drunk driving deaths are caused by impaired drivers between age 16 and 24.
- The legal drinking age of 21 helps keep deaths of young drivers lower than it would otherwise be.
- Teens who drink are also much more likely to engage in risky behavior like getting into a car with an impaired driver.
Men are much more likely than women to be involved in drunk driving crashes
While men are more likely to be involved in dui crashes, that does not mean women are immune. The average size woman can get drunk on just two drinks in an hour. It can take an average sized man just 4 drinks to get drunk.
- 80.4% of all drunk driving fatalities involved a drunk male driver.
- Four times as many men as women are involved in drunk driving accidents.
Drunk driving kills more than just the impaired drivers.
It may seem unfair, but many of the fatalities in drunk driving accidents are not the drivers but passengers. What is even sadder is that many of those deaths are of children under the age of 14.
Overall drunk driving deaths have decreased by 44% since 1985
This is great news, but there is more progress to be made. This progress is mainly due to the following:
- The work of activist groups brings greater awareness to the dangers of drunk driving.
- Use of Taxi type services like Uber and Lyft, giving impaired drivers a ride home.
- Increased legal drinking age of 21.
Consequences of Drunk Driving
The consequences of drunk driving can be severe, so preventing drunk driving in the first place should be a priority. Using sober rideshares, a designated driver, or spending the night after drinking (instead of driving home) are all options. The following are some consequences for drinking and driving.
Death or Injury
Drunk driving can cause death or serious injury from an auto accident. Ability to react appropriately when driving decreases when drunk, greatly increasing the chances of a serious accident. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver, it’s best to contact a car accident lawyer to learn about your options.
Possible jail time
If caught drinking and driving you can have stiff penalties including a $10,000 fine license suspension, and/ or jail time. Those who are caught more than once can have worse penalties like permanent license revocation and jail time.
Higher car insurance rates
If caught drinking and driving (DUI), car rates can jump sky high. Depending upon your insurance provider and other factors, your rate can nearly double due to a DUI.
It does not pay to drink and drive. There are stiff penalties as well as the chance of dying or being severely injured. Often it isn’t just the driver who pays these penalties, but bystanders can also be injured or killed. Help to prevent drunk driving by taking precautions, planning ahead, and not drinking and driving.