4 DUI Wrecks, No One Hurt. That’s Russian Roulette for You

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russian-roulette-tennessee-duiNot all drunk drivers crash. But recently Clarksville, Tennessee saw four DUI wrecks in one weekend. The good news: no one was hurt.

That’s a lot of good luck. Some 10,000 people each year are killed as a result of alcohol-related crashes in this country, about 500 of them in are Tennessee DUI wrecks. So things might have turned out differently.

What makes the difference? It could be good engineering: cars are safer than they’ve ever been. Airbags and crumple zones mean that even serious wrecks don’t need to be fatal.

It can also be dumb luck: the driver veers into a ditch instead of an oncoming vehicle. A drunk driver is like an arrow shot into the air: one never knows where it will land.

The Odds of A Tennessee DUI Death

A better analogy is Russian Roulette, given the number of drunk drivers out there. More than 25,000 Tennesseans are arrested each year for driving under the influence. Let’s estimate (conservatively) that one out of 10 drunk drivers are arrested. That means that a quarter million drivers took to Tennessee roads while impaired last year. Any of them would have a decent chance of injuring or killing someone.

In Russian roulette, every bullet in the gun has a 100% chance of killing you, but the trigger pull has a 16.6 chance of ending your life. It’s similar with drunk drivers. Any one drunk driver might well miss another person (and fail to kill him or herself), but luck doesn’t last forever. We had ten thousand proofs of that in 2016.

So if you have been drinking, and you think you have a good chance of making it home, calculate the odds again, and use the Russian roulette model this time. The point is, you might beat the odds, but the cost of losing is too great.

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