Written by Soberinfo
December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, a tragic but necessary day of awareness. Everyone knows they should never drink and drive, yet impaired drivers cause thousands of horrific motor vehicle accidents every year. In fact, more than 1 in 4 traffic-related fatalities in the United States involves an inebriated driver.
Every 50 minutes, a drunk driving accident claims the life of an individual. About 29 people die in accidents with an impaired driver every single day. Too many families know from personal experience the pain of losing a loved one to an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash.
Alcohol is a powerful substance that affects judgment, inhibits motor skills, and slashes reaction time. Operating a car after drinking any amount of alcohol is unsafe and the risk skyrockets the more you consume. Every adult in the United States understands the dangers that come with drinking and driving yet the problem persists.
Last month, President Trump proclaimed December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The month serves as a way to remember those lost to alcohol-impaired drivers. It also aims to raise awareness about the ongoing but very preventable tragedy.
Drunk Driving Statistics
Drunk driving refers to anyone operating a motor vehicle while at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. It takes about 4 drinks for the average adult female and 5 drinks for the average adult male over the course of two hours to reach this point. Though 0.08% is the legal limit, there are still noticeable impairments at lower BAC levels, too. Then the more you drink the more pronounced the effects become.
More than 28 million residents in the U.S. ages 16 and older reported driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at least once in 2019. That’s 11.2% of the population in this age range. The need for National Drunk Driving Prevention month is clear when more than 1 in 10 people admit to driving under the influence.
In 2018, 10,511 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents caused by some driving while under the influence. The estimated annual cost of alcohol-related car accidents totals up to more than a staggering sum of $44 billion.
Thankfully, rates of alcohol-related traffic incidents, accidents, and fatalities have been on a steady decline over the past few decades. 41% of traffic fatalities in 1985 involved an alcohol-impaired driver. As of 2018, 29% of fatalities are due to a drunk driver. Still, despite the widespread knowledge of the incredible risk of driving drunk, people continue to do it.
Impaired Driving During the Holidays
Drunk driving is a problem all year long, but it becomes especially problematic during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, alcohol plays a significant part in most holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, impaired driving rates reflect that reality year after year.
These few weeks between the holidays are some of the deadliest on the road. Every year, an average of 300 people died in drunk driving accidents between Christmas and New Year’s over the past 5 years. December of 2016 was a particularly tragic year when 781 people lost their lives to alcohol-related accidents.
The Growing Need for Alcohol Addiction Treatment
The alarming rates of drunk driving incidents reflect the staggering rates of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. 23.9 percent of people in the U.S. ages 12 and older reported binge drinking at least once in the past month. 5.8 percent of people qualify as heavy alcohol users and 5.3 percent, or 14.5 million people, suffer from an active alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic, progressive condition characterized by compulsive alcohol use. People with AUD continue to drink regardless of any consequences that may result from their alcohol use. They’re aware of the problems that alcohol causes but aren’t able to quit despite its effects on their lives.
President Trump’s declaration of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month acknowledged the growing need for alcohol addiction resources. Alcohol and substance use disorders are serious conditions that require assistance. Addressing the ongoing alcohol problem in the U.S. is the perfect place to start in order to see a continued decline in rates of driving under the influence.