How dangerous are drunk drivers? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 28 people every day die in a drunk driving motor-vehicle accident. In 2015, 10,265 people died in accidents involving an impaired driver. This breaks down to roughly one death every 51 minutes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this was an increase over the 9.967 people who were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2014. Nationwide, alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 29% of all car accident fatalities in 2015.
The total amount of medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses an alcohol related motor-vehicle accident creates exceeds $44 billion per year. This figure does not include long-term care expenses and loss of earning capacity which would drive the total cost of these accidents far higher. In 2010, the economic and societal impact of alcohol related crashes was calculated as exceeding $201 billion per year.
NHTSA research shows the higher the BAC limit, the greater the risk of the driver causing an accident related fatality. Of those who caused fatality accidents in 2015, 6,424 (63%) had BAC levels in excess of .08%. 2,908 individuals (28%) were vehicle occupants, and 933 (9%), were pedestrians/cyclists, etc.
Nighttime is the deadliest time for DUI accidents. Accident report statistics from 2006 to 2015 show that drivers were 3.5 times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-impaired fatality crash after dark. In 2015, 27% of motorists involved in a fatal motor-vehicle accident involving a BAC level of greater than .08% were driving motorcycles, 21% were driving passenger vehicles, 22% were driving pickup trucks, 20% were behind the wheel of an SUV, and 10% were in vans.
The fatality rates for 2015 were the highest since 2012 when 10,336 individuals died in alcohol related crashes. Although these were significantly less than the 13,491 who died in 2006 and the 13,041 who died in 2007. In fact from 2006 through 2011, the NHTSA showed a significant decline in DUI related deaths. These declines reflect the effectiveness of enhanced enforcement and anti-DUI education campaigns across the country. However, these statistics also show that much more needs to be done to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from drunk drivers who still haven't gotten the message that drunk driving kills.
Drivers with a history of drunk driving or recorded suspensions pose a significant risk. In 2015, 28% had previous DUI convictions. Of these, 7% had been convicted of having BAC levels of .01 to .07%, 9% had been convicted of having a BAC of .08 or greater, and 10% had previous convictions for driving with BAC's in excess of .15%.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are stepping up enforcement of DUI/DWAI laws and in 2015, police arrested 1.1 million drivers for driving under the influence. However, in 2014, the CDC estimated that there are more than 111 million instances of self-reported DUI/DWAI in the US every year. This means that police are arresting only 1% of drunk drivers.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents motor-vehicle accident victims in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois who have been injured by drunk drivers. Whether the accident happened in Wichita, Garden City, Dodge City, Kansas City, Topeka, or anywhere in between, our firm can help you recover the compensation you need to treat personal injuries, replace lost wages, and pay for long-term care expenses stemming from an alcohol related accident.
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