The drunk driving facts are unmistakable. It is one of the most common causes of death on the public road. People often get into drunk driving accidents primarily because of poor judgment. People tend to underestimate the consequences of being in an accident. At the same time, they overestimate their ability to handle the wheel after drinking.
In the United States alone one person dies every 51 minutes in an alcohol-impaired vehicle crash. These are drunk driving facts from 2016 and the stats are getting worse.
It is important to be informed and alert on the incidents of drunk driving accidents. Let’s take a look at the drunk driving statistics first and then we will discuss what happens when you consume too much alcohol before driving.
Drunk Driving Statistics
Knowing the figures and numbers related to the drunk driving facts is important not only to scare yourself into being more careful but to help you be more analytical in determining its probability.
According to 2013 drunk driving statistics, in the whole country:
- Drunk driving rates are highest (23.4%) among 21 to 25 year olds
- 29.1 million Americans have admitted to drinking and driving.
- Total cost of drunk driving accidents in the United States was $199 billion per year.
The more updated drunk driving statistics say that in 2016:
- There are 10,497 deaths from alcohol-impaired driving accidents.
- 28% of motor vehicle traffic fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired driving.
- 1,233 children aged 14 and below were killed in drunk-driving accidents.
- 21% of males were drunk in road crashes while 14% for females.
The drunk driving facts are that these alcohol related accidents are costly. Also, as shown above, deadly to you and the community.
Therefore, think twice (or thrice) before getting behind the wheel after drinking. Find someone to drive for you or hailing a cab may not be the most convenient option but it is far safer, and costs less than the alternative.
The Effects Of Alcohol
Why is drinking alcohol before driving dangerous? Well, alcohol reduces the function of one’s brain thereby impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. These are all of the things that you need in order to be able to drive safely.
Your alcohol intake is directly proportional to its harmful effects. When you consume more alcohol, you tend to be looser and less focused. These drunk driving facts are indisputable.
Upon the intake of the alcohol, it is absorbed by the walls of the stomach and small intestine almost immediately. From there, it accumulates in the bloodstream until, finally, it is metabolized by the liver.
In determining whether or not it is safe to get behind the wheel, health professionals and state authorities use the alcohol level measurement.
Alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a specific volume of blood. This measurement is also known as the Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. The device used for measuring BAC is a breathalyzer, which is a device that measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath, or by a blood test.
The drunk driving facts and studies have shown that a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, crash risk increases exponentially. This is why most state laws set their allowable limit until .08 BAC. In fact, it’s illegal in all 50 States (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
But despite the peg of .08 BAC, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. To illustrate, the drunk driving statistics in 2016 were that 2,017 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower alcohol levels that the .08 BAC.
What You Can Do To Prevent Yourself From Becoming A Drunk Driving Statistic
Before heading out on the road for a night out, always have a plan on how will you come back home whether drunk or not. Being a designated driver carries a lot of responsibilities since one wrong move can not only cause damage to you but to others.
Here are some tips, using drunk driving facts, that you can follow:
- Plan your safe ride home before you even get out of the house. You and your group can either designate a person who will be the “sober driver” or just look for alternative ways like Uber.
- If you really cannot pass on the drinking, do not drive at all. This should be a golden rule.
- If someone else has been drinking, do not let that person drive, especially if they are alone. Take their keys if you must and help them and get them a safer ride home.
- If you happen to notice that someone else on the road might be intoxicated, contact local authorities immediately and stay away.
Be More Responsible While On the Road
Having a driver’s license is a privilege from the state that you are allowed to operate a vehicle. It is also a responsibility on your part to use that privilege wisely.
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous and reckless crime. That is why there are strict laws and regulations in place to reduce alcohol-impaired driving deaths and reinforce good behavior.
The charges are so strict that the penalties are high. Charges range from misdemeanors to felony offenses. Penalties range from driver’s license revocation, fines, to jail time.
Aside from the penalties, offenders will also be subject to even more regulations than before the committed offense. Some states require the installation of an ignition interlock device. This is a breath test device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. With this device, the vehicle will not start unless the driver blows into the interlock and has a BAC below a pre-set low limit, usually .02.
Considering the stark drunk driving statistics, the government puts a lot of thought into the consequences of the drinking and driving laws. They do this because it affects more than just the driver.
For instance, drunk driving facts in 2016 show that around 1 in 6 children aged 14 and younger were involved in drunk driving crashes.
The sad truth is that 44% of the time it was the child’s own driver who was drunk. It is then very important for drivers all over the country to realized how important driving sober is to the society.