Drunk Driving By the Numbers
If you ever have thought about drinking and driving, hopefully the statistics detailed below will make you think twice.
- In 2016, 10,497 people were killed in DUI crashes, and 290,000 were injured.
- Every day, approximately 800 people in the United States are injured in a drunk driving accident.
- Someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes.
- About 25% of car accidents with teenagers involve an underage drinking driver.
- In 2014, 16% of all drivers who were in fatal accidents during the week were intoxicated, compared to 29% on Friday and Saturday night.
- In the US, the number of DUI deaths has been cut by 50% since 1980, largely through driver education and public service announcements.
- 57% of drivers who were fatally injured had alcohol or drugs in their system and 17% had both.
- Two out of three people on average in the US will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lives.
- In 2014, 10 million Americans reported driving under the influence of illegal drugs in the last year.
- Americans drank too much and drove 121 million times in the last year. This is more than 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day.
- In fatal car accidents in 2014, the largest percentage of drunk drivers were those from 21 to 24, 30% of all accidents.
- Drunk driving in fatal accidents in 2014 was four times higher at night than during the day time – 34% vs. 9%.
- Drunk driving costs each American adult at least $500 per year
Why Drinking and Driving Is Dangerous
Alcohol is a type of depressant that slows down the functions of the central nervous system. This means your normal brain functions are slowed, and you are unable to perform routine tasks critical to driving normally. Alcohol consumption has a dramatic effect on your information processing skills or cognitive skills. It also reduces your hand-eye coordination, known as psychomotor skills.
Drinking alcohol before you drive greatly enhances the chance of a serious or fatal car accident. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely it is that you will have an accident. When you drink, most of the skills and abilities that are required for safe driving, including judgment, concentration, coordination, comprehension, visual acuity and reaction time, are seriously compromised.
Solutions for Drinking and Driving
There are simple things all of us can do to reduce drinking and driving in our personal lives:
- If you plan to drink, make plans for not driving. Plan a ride home before you go to a bar or anywhere you will be drinking. With Uber and Lyft available in so many cities today, there really is no excuse for getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking.
- If you drink any amount of alcohol, do not drive. Even if your BAC is well under the limit, your judgement and coordination can be impaired. And if you are in an accident, you still can be charged with drunk driving even if you are under the legal limit for your state.
- If you have been drinking and do not have a ride home, you need to call a taxi or a ride service to get home safe. The NHTSA has a SaferRide app that you can use on your cell phone to call a family member or friend for a ride. It will pinpoint your exact location and help you to arrange to be picked up.
- If you have a party or event where alcohol is served, be sure that every guest has a safe ride home. Some states will allow the person who provided alcohol at an event to be sued in a personal injury action if injury or death was involved in a drunk driving accident.