Thanks to many initiatives, drinking and driving accidents have been on the decline over the past 20 years. However, that does not mean it is no longer an issue to be concerned about. There are still plenty of people that are being killed on our roadways at the hands of drunk drivers. We have some drinking and driving accident facts to help put things into perspective.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
Record keeping for drinking and driving fatalities began in 1982. In 2016, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.3. This gives us a 65% decrease since 1982. Drinking and driving fatalities accounted for 28% of the total traffic accident fatalities in 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 37,461 people killed in traffic crashes in 2016 in the United States. Of those crashes, 10,497 people were killed in drunk driving crashes that involved a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or higher). To take it one step further, 67% (7,052) of those illegal drivers had a BAC of .15 or higher.
Teen Drinking and Driving Statistics
Thanks to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, we can take a closer look at teens and how drinking and driving affects them also. The following are stats that might shock you.
- Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
- Teens that start drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life compared to those who begin drinking at or after the age of 21.
- About 25% of car crashes that involve teens have an underage drinking driver.
- Kids that start drinking at a younger age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash.
- In 2016, the number of people under 21 killed in drinking and driving accidents decreased by 80% from 1982.
It’s Not Just Alcohol Either
While the main focus seems to be on drinking and driving, there are other factors too. Drug use among teens is prevalent and an issue when it comes to driving also.
- Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths.
- Of the drivers tested, more than 22% tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
- In 2014, 10.1 million people reported they drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year.
- In 2013, 9.9 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Of those people, the highest age group was 18-25 year olds. They made up 10.6% of the 9.9 million.
- Marijuana showed the greatest increase among drivers from 2007 to 2013/14. This increase was 47%. The percentage of THC-positive drivers increased from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2013/14.
- More than one-third of teens believe they drive better while under the influence of marijuana.
- Almost 7% of drivers who were involved in fatal traffic crashes tested positive for THC. Most of those drivers were under the age of 35.