Drunk Driving: Still the Biggest Cause of Auto Accidents
With the many auto accidents being caused by mobile device distractions, drunk driving doesn’t get as much press as it used to. But the fact is that drinking and driving is still the biggest cause of auto accidents. In 2012, one person died every 51 minutes because of drunk-driving crashes – a total of 10,322 people.
Disturbing Drunk Driving Statistics
Drunk driving is an epidemic, and it’s not going away. Combining drunk driving with other driving distractions – like texting and driving or taking selfies while behind the wheel – makes our nation’s highways even more deadly. The following statistics about drunk driving were gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):
- Every day in the United States, 28 people die in a motor vehicle crash involving a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.
- On average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk-driving crash in their lifetime.
- An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.
- In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Of those, 54 percent were riding with the drunk driver.
Young and Drunk
It’s a known fact that teenage drivers are more dangerous on the roads because of inexperience and recklessness. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those auto accidents involve an underage driver who has been drinking.
The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21- to 25-year-olds (23.4 percent). Fatal crashes as a result of drunk driving, according to 2011 statistics, were caused by drivers ages 21 to 24 (32 percent), ages 25 to 34 (30 percent), and 35 to 44 (24 percent).
Night and Day
Drunk-driving accidents can occur at any time of the day or night but, not surprisingly, the wee hours and weekends account for the highest numbers of drunk-driving accidents. Of the fatal crashes that occurred during the week in 2011, 15 percent of all drivers were drunk, compared to 31 percent on weekends. Drunk-driving involvement in fatal crashes in the same year was 4.5 times higher at night (36 percent) than during the day (8 percent).