The Alarming Daily Tally of Alcohol-Induced Accidents

The Alarming Daily Tally of Alcohol-Induced Accidents.
The Alarming Daily Tally of Alcohol-Induced Accidents.

The world is becoming incredibly fast-paced day by day, and sometimes, the stress and pressures from your surroundings can wear you down. As such, many people resort to using or abusing alcohol. As a result, there is now a severe concern involving drinking-related accidents, a consequence affecting the individual and the community. 

From 2010 to 2019, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recorded more than 10,000 deaths related to drunk driving accidents yearly. About 28 people die daily in crashes and accidents caused by alcohol-impaired individuals. This alarming daily tally of alcohol-induced accidents and drunk driving has become a public health concern.

The Statistics on Drunk Driving

According to the NHTSA, about a third of car crash fatalities in the United States are related to drunk drivers, with twice as many accidents happening during the weekends when most people choose to go out and unwind. As per the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) records, the yearly cost of alcohol-induced accidents is more than $44 billion.

The NHTSA data records that in 2017, 32% of drivers involved in fatal accidents were drunk while driving at night. Of this, there were four males for every one female drunk driver on the road. And in 2018, drivers who were impaired by alcohol have driven a car about 147 million times. The total percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in the same year was 29%.

Alcohol-related accidents and fatalities were also a big problem in 2019. The NHTSA recorded 19% of drunk drivers and 50,930 fatal crashes that year. Even during the pandemic, alcohol-induced accidents have not subsided. In 2020, police still reported alcohol-related crashes at 9% despite having fewer vehicles on the roads. From March to September 2020 alone, there were 27% alcohol-related accidents.

Blood Alcohol Content Level and Drunk Driving

In the United States, a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level of 0.08 or higher is the legal limit for DUI. The BAC level is the percentage of alcohol in the blood and is commonly used in measuring an individual’s drunkenness. If your BAC level is at 0.01-0.03, you will appear normal, but impairment can begin to occur.

Meanwhile, a BAC level of 0.06-0.10 makes you more at risk of getting into an accident while driving. At this level, you will experience severe impairments, such as poor reflexes, reasoning, peripheral vision, and depth perception, and may not view distance correctly. Anything higher than this level of BAC, you will begin to lose proper motor function and judgment.

Types of Accidents Caused by Alcohol Impairment

Consuming alcohol, even in the smallest amount, can affect a person’s judgment, reaction time, and coordination. As such, it is dangerous to drive while impaired as it could result in poor decisions and cause an accident. Here are some types of accidents that you could get yourself into after alcohol consumption:

Head-on collisions: When you consume alcohol and drive, you will become drowsy. Some drivers fall asleep while driving and head straight into oncoming traffic, which usually results in a head-on collision. An alcohol-impaired driver tends also to have reduced vision and comprehension of what’s happening in his or her surroundings.

Rear-end collisions: Your ability to judge distance can also be affected if you drive while under the influence of alcohol. As such, most drunk drivers cannot react quickly and slow down when other vehicles stop, resulting in a rear-end collision.

Accidents involving pedestrians: When drunk, you may also have impaired vision and not see your surroundings. As a result, you can hit pedestrians, especially when driving at night.

Driving the wrong way: In most cases, drunk drivers cannot correctly comprehend traffic signs and could be driving the wrong way. This could result in wrong-way wrecks.

With the alarming numbers of alcohol-related car crashes and fatalities, the NHTSA and CDC are implementing strategies to prevent drunk driving. There are sobriety checkpoints on major roads and law enforcement officers patrolling the streets to apprehend drivers who look to be intoxicated. According to the CDC, this step alone has reduced fatalities and damage to properties by about 20%.

The NHTSA has also launched a campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” This campaign aims to educate people about how dangerous it is to drive under the influence of alcohol. Visible saturation patrols are also tasked to roam the roads where drunk driving accidents frequently happen. Some states have also implemented the use of ignition interlock devices where a driver must blow on it, and if alcohol is detected in their breaths, the car will not start. 

Be a Responsible Driver

The number one rule is that if you are drinking, make sure you don’t drive. You can just take a taxi or have someone bring you home. If you have no other option but to drive, it is safe not to drink even a tiny amount. If you are going to a party, plan your ride home before you start having fun. If possible, choose a non-drinking person as a designated driver.

Being responsible is not only about preventing yourself from driving when you’ve had a taste of alcohol. It is also about watching out for someone who might be drinking and ensuring they don’t drive. Help them get a safe ride home and take their keys, if necessary. If you’re hosting the party and you know that there is alcohol involved, make sure that all your guests have a safe ride home and no one drives impaired.

Conclusion

Alcohol-induced accidents remain a grave public health concern that poses risks to individuals and the entire community. While there are numerous awareness campaigns against drunk driving and for implementing stricter penalties, there are still many instances of alcohol-impaired driving, which usually results in minor or major road accidents.

To end drunk driving accidents, there must be a collective effort from society, law enforcement, and legislators. We can foster a culture of accountability, empathy, and responsibility and promote road safety to reduce the devastating impact and consequences of alcohol-impaired driving.