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Despite the increased use of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft and marketing efforts by alcohol brands to ensure you have a designated driver, fatal car crashes caused by drunk driving still occur at high rates. This is especially true during times when people are celebrating and indulging in excess. But which states have the highest rates, and how can you lower your chance of getting injured?
Every day, about 32 people die in the United States from drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 45 minutes. There were 11,654 deaths in 2020 as a result of impaired driving accidents. This is an increase of 14.3% in alcohol-related crashes from 2019.1
And a total of 30% of total vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2020 were a result of alcohol-related incidents. 5
During the holidays, the chances of a crash are increased significantly. In 2019, there were 210 drunk-driving fatalities during Christmas and New Year’s eve, a 129% increase compared to other days of the year .3
Below is a breakdown of the states with the most and least number of drunk driving incidents. The following map shows the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by state in 2020.1
Sadly, here are some other not-so-fun national facts and figures.
- Driver Age: In 2020, the highest percentage of drivers with BACs of 0.08+ involved in fatal crashes was for 21 to 24-year-old drivers (26%), followed by 25 to 34-year-old drivers (26%). The 10-year trend of alcohol-impaired drivers involved increased for older drivers when compared to younger drivers.1
- Under 21: Drunk driving fatalities declined by 30% since 2009 and among those under 21-years-old the number of deaths has decreased 81% since 1982.5
- Driver Gender: In 2020 there were 4 male alcohol-impaired drivers involved for every female alcohol-impaired driver involved (8,482 versus 2,088).1
- Night vs Day: In 2020, the chances of fatal drunk driving crashes are 3.1 higher at night than during the day.2
- Day of the Week: In 2020, 27% of fatal crashes took place on weekends compared to 16% during the week.1
- Most Dangerous Months: More fatal drunk driving crashes occurred in June (10%), July (10%), and August (10%) than in other months in 2020.1
- Vehicle Type: Of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020, 27% were motorcycle operators, 23% were passenger cars, and 19% were trucks, vans, or SUVs.1
- Rural vs Urban: 58% occurred in urban areas and 42% in rural areas in 2020.1
- Total Fatalities: The total number of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2020 were highest in Montana (45%), followed by Texas (39%) and Maine (39%), and lowest in the District of Columbia, Utah, and Mississippi (21%).1
- Each day, more than 300,000 people drive drunk, but only about 3,200 are arrested.4
- An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before their first arrest.4
- About 1/3 of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.4
The good news is that drunk driving fatalities have been trending down over the last 20 years, thanks to awareness and stricter laws. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have made it illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
Still, the roads can be dangerous, particularly during holiday evenings and nights. Check out the brief video below for some driving tips to stay safe on New Year’s Eve and other risky times.
Stay safe this holiday season, and while it’s okay to have fun drinking and being merry, it’s never okay to drink and drive. If you do plan to have one too many drinks, make sure you have a designated driver.
With the advent of self-driving cars, hopefully, one day these statistics will be a thing of the past. And if you’re wondering how your state ranks for fatal car accidents, we’ve got those statistics for you as well.
Sources:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2020 Report,  Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility,  Scram Systems,  MADD,  Responsability.orgTagged With: Driving Safety, Statistics