In 2016, alcohol-involved traffic fatalities rose by 1.7 percent, accounting for 28 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths that year. The number of alcohol-impaired crash fatalities has risen steadily since 2014.
DUI Traffic Fatalities are Rising
Every year, DUI car crashes kill thousands of drivers, innocent passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), data shows that alcohol-impaired crash fatalities are rising in the United States. In 2016, DUI crashes accounted for 28 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities, killing 10,497 people in the U.S. During 2016, crash statistics show an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 50 minutes on America’s roads and highways.
In all states, alcohol-impaired driving is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. All states have zero-tolerance laws that prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from drinking and driving. In 2016, data from The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that approximately 1,017,808 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. One in every 215 licensed drivers in the United States was arrested for a DUI offense.
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Although national DUI traffic deaths vary between states, fatalities rose in 29 states. The states with the highest number of alcohol-impaired deaths in 2016 included New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, Vermont, Utah, Indiana, Iowa, and Alaska. Each of these states had a 20 percent rise in DUI deaths. Statistics show that the highest rise in DUI deaths occurred in Texas, Indiana, Florida, and California. Texas DUI fatalities were the highest in the country, accounting for 1,438 deaths. States with the lowest number of DUI deaths in 2016 included Arkansas. Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
In many states, campaigns and ads against drunk driving target drivers under the age of 21, drivers between ages 21 and 34, and repeat offenders. These groups are responsible for more alcohol-related fatal car crashes than any other drivers. In addition, 42 states and the District of Columbia now have laws that make sellers and servers with commercial liquor licenses legally liable for the damages, injuries, and deaths caused by alcohol-impaired drivers. In 39 states, laws have been passed that hold social hosts who serve liquor to guests liable for damages, injuries, and deaths caused by guests involved in DUI crashes.