Alcohol Impaired Driving in 2010

In 2010, 10,228 people died in auto accidents that involved an impaired driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.  This number made up 31 percent of all traffic fatalities.   This number is down by 4.9 percent from 2009.  However, 2010’s numbers still amount to an alcohol related death every 51 minutes.

We need to take extra care on the roads on the weekends and at night when there is a higher percentage of impaired drivers out and about.  In 2010 there were 4 times as many impaired drivers at night than during the day.  This probably is just common sense to us, as is the fact that the percentage of drunk drivers is highest among 21 to 24 year olds and goes down with age.  But it’s always a good reminder to stay extra aware when driving, especially at night.

Impaired drivers also are often repeat offenders.  Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher were four times more likely to have a prior conviction of impaired driving.  And the majority of accidents involving alcohol involved a BAC of .15 or higher.

chart with fatalities due to impaired driving from 2001 to 2010

The alcohol related fatality rate as declined by 29 percent since 2001, which is good news, but we still have a massive problem, especially since those convicted are not learning to change their behavior.  The best bet is to be educated about the risks and to always designate a driver when going out.  Make sure you are with friends who all respect the need to be safe on the road and understand the weight of how drinking and driving destroys lives.  The damage goes way beyond a wrecked car that will need to be fixed.

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