While most of us can easily recognize drunk driving as a particularly pressing issue today, reviewing the facts can put the problem into context and potentially help to make drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel in an altered state.
The following are a number of recent drunk driving statistics meant to provide a factual perspective on the drunk driving problem as well as give insight into the ways some organizations such as MADD are attempting to heighten public awareness and convince others of the very real dangers both to one’s health and to one’s freedom.
Get the facts:
1. About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
2. Males were more likely than females (15.1 vs. 7.9 percent) to drive drunk.
3. The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds (23.4 percent).
4. The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour.
5. A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which contain the same amount of alcohol.
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in the Medical Setting." DOT HS 809 467. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July 2002.)
6. Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the amount of alcohol drunk over time.
7. In 2012, MADD served more than 61,000 victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes.
Internal MADD tracking data, 2002-2010.
8. If all 17 million people who admitted to driving drunk had their own state, it would be the fifth largest in the U.S.
9. An estimated 27,000 lives have been saved with the passage of the 21 minimum drinking age law.
10. On average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
11. “Hardcore” drunk drivers, or those found with a BAC level of .15 or above are 380 times more likely to be involved in a vehicle accident.
12. The average drunk driver has driven drunk 87 times before the first arrest.
13. Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash.
14. Drunk driving costs each adult in the United States roughly $500 per year.
15. Children who start drinking at a young age are 7 times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.
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