DUIs Decreasing, But Drunk Drivers are Still a Problem on the RoadFeb 3, 2017
Number of DUIs Declining, Statistics Still Worrisome
For over a decade, the number of DUIs has been decreasing. While the decline is a step in the right direction, the number of drunk drivers on the road is still worrisome. According to figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over 27 million people in the United States got behind the wheel after drinking in 2014. The lessening number of DUIs is encouraging, but drunk driving is still a major problem that puts everyone at risk.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a car accident lawsuit.
According to a December 2016 press release issued by SAMHSA, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that DUI rates are on the decline. In 2002, the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year was 15.3 percent. This figure dropped to 11.1 percent by 2014. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 25 years old showed one of the biggest declines, from 29.9 percent in 2002 to 18.9 percent in 2014.
However, the release notes, the number of drunk drivers and drivers under the influence in the United States is still concerning. In 2014, 27.7 million Americans aged 16 or older (11.1 percent of this age group) drove under the influence of alcohol. Among this age group, 10.1 million Americans (4.1 percent) drove under the influence of illicit drugs. In 2014, 5.9 million Americans in this age group (2.5 percent) drove under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs simultaneously, SAMHSA says.
Needless to say, drinking and driving can lead to serious, sometimes fatal accidents. In 2014, 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths were related to driving while intoxicated.
“Although it is heartening to see a downward trend in levels of driving under the influence of alcohol, it still kills thousands of people each year and shatters the lives of friends and loved ones left behind,” said Frances Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, according to the release. “We must strive to save lives by reducing this public health threat through education, prevention, and all other possible measures.”
SAMHSA reports that, based on self-reports, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol varies significantly between age groups. “For example, rates of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2014 rose steadily from age 16 until peaking at about 19.4 percent for those aged 21-29,” the release states. The rates of drinking and driving begin to decrease around age 30. The lowest rates of driving while intoxicated was among drivers 65 years and older. “A similar relationship exists between age groups and the rate of driving under the influence of illicit substance. Rates steadily rise from age 16 to the early 20s and then steadily drop among older age groups,” SAMHSA states.
The release states that, in 2014, drunk drivers were more likely to be males than females. Additionally, drivers under the influence of both alcohol and illicit drugs were more likely to be male.
Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk driving accidents kill nearly 30 people in the United States each day. This equates to one fatality every 51 minutes. Driving drunk endangers everyone on the road.
The CDC has several recommendations for preventing drunk driving and subsequent accidents. If you are driving to a party, designate one nondrinking driver who can operate the vehicle. If you did drive somewhere and ended up drinking, do not drive home. It is safer to call a cab or ask for a ride from someone else. The agency says, in order to prevent someone drinking and driving, take the keys. Additionally, if you are hosting an event where alcohol will be served, remind your guests arrange for a safe way to get home. Make sure non-alcoholic beverages are available as well. All guests should leave with a sober driver.
The best protection against a drunk driver on the road is a seatbelt, the CDC says. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of injury and death from a car crash by 50 percent.
How can you spot a drunk driver on the road? According to law enforcement officials, there are several telltale signs. Among other things, a drunk driver may be swerving back and forth on the road. If you spot a driver that looks like they may be under the influence of alcohol, keep your distance and call 911. Make sure you and your passengers have your seat belt on.
There are several measures in place to prevent drunk drivers from endangering others on the road. One strategy involves the use of sobriety checkpoints, where police stop drivers to determine whether they are drunk. State laws prevent the sale of alcohol to people under the age of 21. These laws help prevent young drivers, who likely do not have much experience on the road, from driving under the influence of alcohol.
Parker Waichman comments that drinking and driving is a dangerous behavior that puts everyone at risk. Pursuing litigation for a drunk driving accident obtains compensation for the injured victim, who may have sustained medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Injuries from a drunk driving accident could lead to serious disability or death, the latter leading to a wrongful death lawsuit. When suing for a drunk driving accident, you will likely prove that the driver breached their duty of care to drive responsibly.
Filing a drunk driving lawsuit helps obtain justice and compensation for injured victims, but it also holds drunk drivers responsible for their actions.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).