Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all 50 U.S. states. This is not just law based on a bureaucrat’s idea of safe roads, either. Driving statistics clearly show that impaired driving is dangerous for not only the driver, but also for everyone else on the road.
Impaired Driving Deaths
One of the most dangerous things that the average person does on a regular basis is drive. On average, 30 people die due to motor vehicle collisions caused by drunk driving every day. This is almost one-third of the total road fatalities that occur in this country.
The daily average was reached using data compiled concerning motor vehicle fatalities in the year 2010. During that year, a total of 10,228 people died in accidents where alcohol was a factor. This made up 31 percent of the total 32,821 people who died on the roads that year.
In 2010, 211 children under the age of 14 died in alcohol-related crashes. Of these children, 131 were riding in the car with the alcohol-impaired driver. The others were victims of collisions that alcohol-impaired drivers caused.
Alcohol is the most common chemical impairment involved in motor vehicle accidents. Approximately 18 percent of fatal motor vehicle collisions do involve the use of drugs. However, in many of these cases, alcohol is being used in combination with the drugs.
The Scope of the Problem
Despite the fact that 1.4 million drivers were arrested for impaired driving during 2010, it remains an enormous problem. This is partly due to the fact that law enforcement simply can’t keep up. The 1.4 million drivers arrested in 2010, in fact, make up only 1 percent of the 112 million drivers who self-reported incidents of driving under the influence.
An estimated, 51 billion dollars worth of damage, medical bills, and other expenses are caused every year by impaired driving. Arrests for driving under the influence do not seem to dissuade many drivers, either. Drivers who were under the influence at the time of a fatal crash were four times more likely to have had a previous DUI conviction than drivers who were not under the influence.
Who is Most Affected by Impaired Driving
Young people and motorcyclists are the most likely to die in accidents caused by impaired drivers. Young people with the same blood alcohol concentration as older people are more likely to get into accidents, probably due to their comparative lack of experience with both driving and alcohol. Over 34 percent of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 21 and 24, and an additional 30 percent were between 25 and 34.
Of motorcyclists who were involved in fatal crashes in 2010, 28% were found to be legally under the influence of alcohol. Motorcyclists who died while driving under the influence were most commonly (44 percent) between the ages of 40 and 44.