Driving or riding in a vehicle is dangerous enough without adding alcohol to the mix. Unfortunately, although the dangers of driving while intoxicated have been well-known for decades, a disturbing number of motorists still choose to get behind the wheel after having a few too many. Each and every time motorists makes the poor decision to drive while drunk, they put themselves—and everyone else on the road—in serious jeopardy.
Drunk Driving Statistics
People who routinely drive while under the influence may not think their actions are a big deal, but a look at the latest drunk driving statistics says otherwise. The consequences of drinking and driving can include serious injury, property damage, arrest, jail time, and even death. Consider these frightening statistics:
- 28 people die in alcohol-related crashes every day in the United States, which works out to one drunk driving death every 53 minutes.
- There were 10,265 drunk driving deaths in 2015; 9,967 in 2014; and 10,076 in 2013.
- Drunk driving costs the United States approximately $200 billion per year.
- The chance of being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver is one in three over the course of a lifetime.
- People drive drunk nearly 300,000 times on any given day, but fewer than 4,000 intoxicated drivers are arrested.
- Drunk driving costs each adult in the United States between $500 and $800 per year.
- A person is injured in a drunk driving crash every 90 seconds in the United States.
- The average drunk driver drives drunk approximately 80 times before their first arrest.
- Drivers self-report approximately 121 million episodes of drunk driving each year.
Some segments of the population are more likely to drive drunk than others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those most at risk of driving while under the influence of alcohol include young people between the ages of 21 and 24, as well as those between the ages of 25 and 34. Motorcyclists are also at risk; out of all the motorcyclists who died in car accidents in 2014, 29 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit.
Another group that's most at risk for driving while drunk are drivers who have prior driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. Drivers killed in fatal crashes who had a BAC above the legal limit were seven times more likely to have a previous driving while impaired conviction.
When it comes to drunk driving, the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true. Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures that have proved effective at preventing drunk driving injuries and deaths. These measures include:
- Enforcing existing drinking and driving laws, including legal drinking age laws and zero tolerance laws for motorists under the age of 21.
- Sobriety checkpoints that allow law enforcement to assess drivers' levels of alcohol impairment.
- Installing vehicle ignition interlock devices for all drunk drivers—even first-time offenders; these gadgets require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer-type device and have a certain BAC before starting the ignition.
- Mandating substance abuse treatment for drunk drivers, if necessary.
- Continuing awareness programs in schools, communities, churches, etc.
- Raising taxes to increase the price of alcohol.
Were You Injured in an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?
If you were involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be grappling with serious injuries, unexpected medical bills, a long recovery period, and other concerns. Fortunately, you may not have to bear these burdens on your own. Delaware law allows accident victims to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. If you're considering filing a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your accident, the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help. Our firm handles DUI and DWI cases, as well as social host liability claims. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case consultation.