Getting involved in a car collision can be a traumatic experience, but getting involved in a car accident with a drunk driver can be even worse. Not only did the drunk driver put themselves in danger, but they also knowingly put the lives of innocent people at risk. Drinking and driving occur when someone consumes alcohol and gets behind the wheel of a car. Legally, a driver is considered safe to drive when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below 0.08 or 0.05 (depending on which state you reside). However, driving after the driver’s BAC exceeds these legal limits can lead to deadly consequences. You may wonder just how many accidents are caused by drunk driving. The answers may surprise you.
Although statistics have changed throughout the years, drunk drivers are responsible for more than 10 thousand fatalities yearly, or around 27 deaths daily. In 2016, according to the CDC, the number of alcohol-related vehicular fatalities was more than 10,497, which accounted for nearly 30% of all traffic accident deaths. Sadly, among these deaths, over a thousand mortalities involved children under 14. In addition, this same year in the U.S., over a million drivers were arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Luckily, through public outreach and police efforts, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 52% since the 1980s. Still, annual damages from accidents resulting from drunk driving add up to over 44 billion dollars.
Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicates that in 2019, 10,142 people died in alcohol-related crashes. Additionally, according to the NHTSA data, 28 percent of crash fatalities in 2019 were due to alcohol-related accidents. Luckily, this is the lowest statistical proportion on record. However, many of these deaths could have been avoided. In 2020, more than 11,000 law enforcement agencies reported more than 575,000 arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the U.S. to the FBI. This is compared to 755,000 similar arrests in 2019 and over a million reported in 2013. Although the recorded number of DUI accidents is on the decline, accidents with alcohol involved still make up a large percentage of total annual crashes – crashes that result in needless deaths due to negligent actions taken when an individual decides to drive under the influence.
When it comes to drinking and driving percentages, statistics show us that in 2010, males were responsible for ⅘ or 81% of drinking and driving incidents. Specifically, young men between the ages of 21-34 (which make up only 11% of the adult U.S. population) were responsible for 32% of all drunk driving incidents. Furthermore, of drunk driving incidents reported, it was found that 85% of drunk drivers reported being binge drinkers. Binge drinkers are men who drink more than five drinks in a short period and women who drink more than four drinks in a single episode.
According to the CDC, in a survey taken regarding drinking and driving habits, 65% of respondents claimed to have not gotten behind the wheel of a car after drinking. However, 23.2% of respondents admitted to driving after drinking at least once or twice in the past 30 days (from when the survey was taken), and 2.17% of respondents admitted to drinking and driving over six times in the past 30 days. Bewilderingly, nearly 54% of respondents mentioned feeling capable of driving after drinking. Even more shocking was that 10% of people who stated they feel OK to drink and drive had received DUIs in the past.
Certain trends can be seen when analyzing the statistics regarding drunk driving accidents. As we know, alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and coordination capabilities, leading to poor decision-making with potentially deadly consequences. Below are some of the common types of accidents associated with drinking and driving.
Drunk drivers may quickly nod off at the wheel while in traffic, be unable to read traffic signs, have a delayed reaction time, or may completely black out while driving. These factors can easily lead to a head-on collision.
As intoxicated individuals have delayed reactions and response time to stimuli, a drunk driver may be unable to quickly respond or recognize when an individual is pulling in front of them or slowing down. As a result, they may not be able to judge the distance between two vehicles accurately. They can easily drive too close to another driver, leading to an accident.
Under the influence of alcohol, a driver’s reaction time and vision may be impaired. Especially while driving at night, an intoxicated driver may not see pedestrians while backing up, turning, or on the side of the road. As a result, drunk drivers may cause significant injuries to innocent pedestrians walking on the road.
Sadly, many intoxicated drivers have not been able to read signs, see exits accurately, and may miss turns and proper entrances. Intoxicated drivers may even go down the wrong way on a one-way street. When a drunk driver doesn’t see road signs, turns, signs for a one-way, or drives down the wrong way of a road or parking lot, other drivers on the road are at risk.
Even though the number of annual drunk driving fatalities has decreased over the years, it is important to know how many accidents are caused by drunk driving each year and to understand the gravity of driving while intoxicated. Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, especially when involving a driver under the influence. Ensure that you know the steps to take following a collision and how to get the help you need from a drunk driving lawyer if involved in an accident involving a driver who is under the influence.
Here at the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson “The Heavy Hitters,” we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (800) 529-0804 or online to receive a free consultation from an experienced car accident lawyer.