Drunk Driving Facts Are Startling, Especially When It Comes to Teen Drunk Driving
If you own a TV, then you’ve likely seen a commercial about drunk driving and its effects on people. You might also be one of many people who have thought “It can’t happen to me.” But when you’re part of a drunk driving accident or have lost someone you love to drinking while driving, you’ll be forced to rethink that position.
Drunk Driving — It Happens More Than You Think
While some people are quick to argue that it only happened the one time they were caught, this is rarely the case. In fact, one study by the CDC indicates that drunk drivers will have driven under the influence as many as 80 times prior to their first arrest for the offense. Furthermore, one-third of all people arrested — over 1.2 million people total in 2011 — for DUI of alcohol are repeat offenders according to the National Department of Transportation. Despite the overall risk of drunk driving, fines and court dates, these people still get behind the wheel after they have a drink.
Perhaps what is more starting is how legal actions such as suspending a driver’s license after a drunk driving offense are so ineffective. Over 50% of people — and as many as 75% off people — who have lost their driver’s license continue to drive without it. This disregard of the law paints a disturbing picture about driving culture. Is it really that far of a stretch that drinking and driving is a pandemic?
Drunk Driving Traffic Accidents Statistics
Of course, no one can deny how big a problem drinking and driving is when you look at the hard numbers. For example, 27 people died every day in the United States due to a collision that involves driving while impaired in 2011. Over the course of that year, around 10,000 fatalities occurred from driving incidents that involve alcohol. In 2012, the numbers jumped higher than 10,000 as the amount of time between drunk driving fatalities dipped to just 51 minutes.
But drunk driving doesn’t have to be fatal to change your life forever. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that someone was injured from a drunk driving accident every 90 seconds in 2002, totaling almost one thousand victims per day.
It’s even worse when you consider the impact on children. In 2010, over 200 children were fatally injured in drunk driving accidents. 54% of those children were passengers in vehicles with the drunk driver according to one study by NHTSA. Adults who are responsible for those lives are the very reason that the lives were cut short so sadly and suddenly.
The age group most likely to drink and drive are young adults between the ages of 21 and 24 years. However, this doesn’t mean teenagers are immune from the dangers of drinking and driving even though all 50 states have laws against teen drivers from having any alcohol in their systems. A quarter of all teen car accident deaths involved an intoxicated under aged driver, and car crashes are the single greatest cause of death in teenagers overall, even when alcohol isn’t a factor.
Teen drivers are more susceptible to drunk driving. Not only do teens often make riskier decisions, but alcohol absorption in the blood often happens more quickly than with adults. While the general rule is that one drink takes an hour to leave a person’s body, it may take even more time for a teenager’s bloodstream to become free of the effects of alcohol.
It’s important to combat drinking and driving because teen drunk driving facts paint a gloomy picture about youth who get involved with alcohol. Drinking at a young age increases the likelihood of a person being involved in a car accident seven times! Furthermore a 2008 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that school-aged teens who drink are five times more likely to drop out of school than their peers who are not involved with alcohol or other substances.
The Cost of Drunk Driving
If you’re caught driving while intoxicated, you’re going to literally pay the price. Higher insurance premiums, legal fees and fines and the cost of a taxi In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that every adult in the U.S.A. pays on average $500 per year due to the effects of drunk driving. Even if you’ve never driven after having a drink, you’re paying the price for those around you who do engage in this sort of risky behavior. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drunk driving is a $132-billion industry, costing the country that much money every year since 2010.
However, that doesn’t mean that the future is bleak. Since the advent of program Mothers Against Drunk Driving, incidents have been cut by 50%. Similar programs also help to reduce drunk driving and the injuries and fatalities. These programs provide counseling for addicts, assistance for victims of drunk driving incidents among other services. Safe ride programs like those provides by some tavern leagues as well as anti-drunk driving groups also provide safe options to lower the rate of drunk driving accidents.
When the legal system takes a look at the reasons behind drinking and driving, including alcohol addition, treatment options become more clear and effective. DUI/DWI courts, for example, help to lower the rate of recidivism by where traditional courts of law are less effective. In some states, a policy of revoking the driver’s license after just a single offense has also been effective at curbing driving while intoxicated. Finally, the risk of vehicle impounding is one that proves too great for many people who enjoy drinking, even when the risk of life and limb isn’t enough to prevent drinking and driving.
While the numbers surrounding drunk driving are enough to make you want to hide inside your house, community-based and legal measures can and have reduced instances of drunk driving. Strict laws and education with can prevent drunk driving before it becomes a problem with teens.