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Drunk Driving by the Numbers

Drunk Driving by the Numbers

This information presented in this article was found via the Bureau of Transportation Statistics site:

Do you know how often people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes? Three people every TWO hours. In fact, 4 million U.S. adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in 2010, with 112 million alcohol-impaired driving episodes. Women should hold their heads a bit higher though, as men accounted for 81 percent of these instances.

As shown in figure 1 below, alcohol-related highway crashes accounted for over 13,000 deaths in 2010, which frankly seems low considering the millions of episodes stated above. The costs are high too, costing Americans an estimate $37 billion.

Highway Vehicle Fatalities Chart

Figure 2 below shows that alcohol was involved in 47% of pedestrian fatalities, 39% of vehicle occupant fatalities, and 33% of pedal cyclist fatalities in 2010. Pedestrians are more vulnerable than highway vehicle occupants are. In addition, drivers involved in traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities had less than two-thirds the rate of alcohol involvement as did the pedestrians killed.

Highway Vehicle Fatalities with Alcohol Chart

However, drunk driving awareness and enforcement efforts such as Zero Tolerance Laws may be having a positive impact. The percentage of alcohol-related fatalities decreased from 50% in 1990 to 42% in 2009. And all 50 States, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, now have a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit for determining if drivers are driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), up from just 2 in 1990. Among major crimes, driving under the influence has one of the highest arrest rates with more than 1.4 million DUI arrests in 2010.