The 2019 national enforcement mobilization “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” goes into effect across the country from August 16 to September 2, 2019. One of the deadliest and most often committed – yet preventable – of crimes [drunk driving], has become a serious safety epidemic in our country.
Drunk-Driving Facts and Figures
- Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). In 2014, there were 9,967 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, over 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes.
- Over the Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 29 – 5:59 a.m. September 2) in 2014, there were 401 crash fatalities nationwide. Almost half (48%) of those fatal crashes involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC); 40 percent involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC); and more than a fourth (28%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the illegal limit (.15+ BAC).
- In 2014, approximately 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes (14 and younger) were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
- In addition to the human toll drunk driving takes on our country, the financial impact is devastating as well: based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually.
- In every State, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, yet one person is killed in a drunk-driving crash every 53 minutes in the United States.
- Of the 9,967 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2014, 64 percent were the drunk drivers themselves.
- In fatal crashes during the month of August over the five-year period of 2010-2014, almost 1 out of 10 (7%) of the drunk drivers involved had one or more previous convictions for drunk driving.
- Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes. In 2014, 23 percent of males were drunk in these crashes, compared to 15 percent for females.
- Drunk driving is more common at night, and Labor Day weekend in 2014 was no exception. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
- Among the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34, who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2014, 51 percent of those fatalities involved a drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Motorcycle riders have the highest overall rate of alcohol impairment in fatal crashes. In 2014, 29 percent of the motorcycle riders killed were riding impaired.
Resources for Safe Driving
- Remind drivers in your community to always designate a sober, reliable driver to get them home safely.
- Encourage drivers to download the NHTSA SaferRide app, available for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en) and Apple (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so they can be picked up.
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