Drunk drivers are the cause of around 29 deaths per day in this country. Because driving drunk is a decision that a person has to make purposefully, each of those deaths was preventable. On top of those deaths, there are countless other victims who suffer injuries in crashes caused by impaired drivers.
One thing that many people don't realize is that not all impaired driving crashes are the result of a driver who's intoxicated due to alcohol. Some drivers are impaired by illegal substances, over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs.
How Serious of a Problem are Alcohol and Drugs while Driving?
Around 28% of traffic deaths were caused by an impaired driver in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 16% of all motor vehicle crashes were due to drugs that same year.
The vast majority of fatal drunk driving crashes that involved a driver with a .08% or higher blood alcohol concentration involved drivers who were 21 to 44 years old. The statistics break down a little more to:
- 27% were 25 to 34 years old
- 26% were 21 to 24 years old
- 22% were 35 to 44 years old
The problem of drunk driving isn't something that's associated with people who make a one-time mistake of driving drunk. Drivers who are legally intoxicated are 4.5 times more likely to already have at least one drunk driving conviction than drivers who have no alcohol in their system at the time of a crash.
How can Drivers Stay Safe?
One of the best things that you can do to protect yourself is to know the signs of impaired driving so you can attempt to stay away from those drivers. If you notice any of the following signs, contact police if it's safe to do so to report the possibility of a drunk or impaired driver.
- Swerving or straddling the center line
- Erratic braking for no reason
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
- Improper signaling
- Failing to obey traffic signals, signs or laws
- Driving very slowly or way too fast
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Almost hitting objects on the side of the road
- Not using headlights from dusk to dawn
Anyone who is struck by a drunk or impaired driver is at risk of suffering from catastrophic injuries. This requires considerable medical care and can result in extensive financial damages. These individuals can opt to seek compensation to help cover those damages.