Drinking and Driving: The Latest Statistics

This article contribution comes to us from the law offices of Isaac Abraham.

Field Sobriety Test
Field Sobriety Test Checks Whether Man
Has Been Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving is a serious problem. Every year, driving while under the influence kills more than ten thousand people. This accounts for close to a third of the traffic deaths in America. Those numbers have thankfully been on a steady decline since the legal drinking age was raised to 21 in the 1980’s. Still, warns New York DWI Attorney Isaac Abraham, even one life lost to a drunk driver is one life too many.

The Statistics By State

MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has released a five-star system that rates the states based on the implementation of five different programs. These include ignition interlock laws, which require people who have drunk driving charges to install a device in their car that will measure blood alcohol content before the car will start; sobriety checkpoints; child endangerment laws; license revocation; and no-refusal events. In 2015, 13 states earned the full five stars. 18 states were given four stars. The remaining states, with three or fewer stars, still need to institute programs to protect drivers on the road and to create harsher penalties for drunk driving offenders. Notably, Montana and Rhode Island have only a single star. Curious about where your state stands? Visit the MADD site to learn more.

Over the last two decades, drunk driving fatalities have been on a fairly steady decline. Since 1982, drunk driving fatalities are down 52%. They’re down 31% since 1991, and even since 2004, drunk driving fatalities have continued to decrease by 24%. Those numbers have decreased even more for drivers under the age of 21.

Male Versus Female: Who Drinks and Drives?

Men are much more likely to drink and drive than women. In fact, in 2010, men were the ones who had been drinking in four out of five accidents involving alcohol. Men between the age of 21 and 34 make up approximately a third of all drunk driving accidents. Whether it’s because women are more aware of their tolerance or because men are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior when drunk, it’s obvious that drunk driving is much more common among men than women.

Drinking and Driving Versus Other Traffic Violations

Drinking and driving is a serious problem. Approximately 41% of fatal traffic accidents involved alcohol. Among crashes with injuries, alcohol was involved in at least 9%. The ultimate balance of alcohol violations when compared to other traffic issues varies significantly by state, but the bottom line is clear: drinking and driving poses a serious threat in America.

Drinking and driving is clearly on the decline thanks to the efforts of a number of different organizations throughout the United States. Even one drunk driver on the roads is too many—and America is out to keep them off. MADD is hopeful that there will be a day when there are no longer drunk drivers on the road threatening our families.