In the U.S., there is an unfortunate increase in drunk driving deaths and overall traffic fatalities for the second year in a row. This recent study comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with numbers from 2016.
To put this in perspective, 10,320 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2015. Last year shows a 1.7 percent increase with 10,497 lives taken.
Overall traffic fatalities also rose to 37,461 in 2016 from 35,485 in 2015 – a 5.6 percent increase. The U.S. has not seen a two-year increase in drunk driving fatalities like this since 1963 and 1964.
Which age group is highest with drunk driving fatality rates?
- The highest percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes with a BAC of .08 or higher are ages 25 to 34 at 27 percent.
- People aged 21 to 24 aren’t far behind at 26 percent. Age groups between 35 to 44 years old are at 22 percent.
What type of vehicles?
- In 2016, motorcycles made up 25 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a BAC of .08 or higher.
- In comparison, passenger cars made up 21 percent, with light and large trucks at 20 and 2 percent.
How Can We Decrease Drunk Driving Deaths?
National organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) continues to lobby for stronger legislation to prevent these tragic deaths on our roadways. They ask for various measures, such as more high-visibility law enforcement like sobriety checkpoints, and more Ignition Interlock all-offender laws.
Currently, 30 states and D.C. have an all-offender Ignition Interlock law in place. This means every DUI offender must have an Ignition Interlock in their vehicle, whether it’s a first or repeat offense.
How Effective Are Ignition Interlocks?
The effectiveness of Ignition Interlocks has been proven in multiple studies. Although drunk driving deaths have increased as a nation, each of the 30 states with strong Ignition Interlock laws see a decline. In addition, recidivism in drunk drivers decreases if they use an Ignition Interlock for a first offense rather than the second or third time.
MADD says we need to do better as a nation to make our roadways safer, and Smart Start agrees. 94 percent of serious crashes happen because of human error. There are too many options that can get someone from point A to point B without someone drunk behind the wheel.