While most people know that drunk driving is an issue in our society, many aren’t aware of how common and prevalent drunk driving truly is. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an individual dies in a drunk driving accident every 53 minutes. This translates to 28 preventable deaths every single day.
About 88 percent of all people aged 18 or older have tried alcohol and 57 percent of all people in this age range have had an alcoholic beverage within the past 30 days. Based on these statistics on the commonality of drinking alcohol, it shouldn’t be that surprising that driving under the influence is fairly common.
The demographics of drinking and driving
21 percent more women aged 18 or older have been arrested for DUI in 2012 than in 2003. From 2003 to 2012, there was an 18.6 percent rise in the number of women aged 18 or older arrested for drunkenness. In spite of the significant rise in the number of women arrested for DUI and drunkenness, men still accounted for the vast majority of arrests for driving under the influence in 2012. In 2012, about 650,000 men were arrested for DUI while 211,000 women were arrested for DUI. In a survey of over 2,000 people, 45 percent of the men admitted to driving drunk compared to just 35 percent of the women.
Of course, arrests are not the only consequences of drunk driving. In 2014, about 10,000 people died in traffic accidents involving alcohol. Of these fatalities, 64 percent were drivers with a BAC of at least 0.08. 36 percent of the deaths were non-intoxicated drivers and passengers.
While it is legal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.07 or lower, individuals who drive while “buzzed” can still end up in traffic accidents. Many drivers don’t recognize the dangers of driving while buzzed. Some drivers also don’t realize how few drinks they can have before they are legally intoxicated or impaired. 69 percent of the 2,000 U.S. residents surveyed admitted to driving while buzzed. 65 percent of the participants believe that driving after one or two drinks is safe and 15 percent believe that driving after three or four drinks is fine. The truth is that just one drink can make an individual too intoxicated to drive safely.
Especially when taking into account the drivers who drive while “buzzed,” drunk driving is far more common than many think. Raising awareness about the dangers of both driving while buzzed and driving under the influence is crucial to save lives.