12 Surprising Facts About Car Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers
Billboards, public service announcements and flyers across Florida make it clear: drunk driving is risky. Not only do drivers convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) face steep penalties, but drunk or even “buzzed” driving is likely to result in a serious car accident.
How common – and how dangerous – are drunk driving car crashes in Florida? Check out these 12 facts about drunk driving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Between 2003 and 2012, 8,476 people lost their lives in Florida drunk driving accidents (CDC).
On average, this means that 850 people lost their lives each year – or 71 per month, 17 per week, or just over two per day – every day for 10 years. Although these numbers are dropping, deaths from drunk driving still account for 28 percent of all traffic deaths in Florida, according to MADD.
Drunk driving resulted in 7,825 car accident injuries in a single recent year (FLHSMV).
In just one year, drunk driving caused 7,825 injuries on Florida roads. This number includes injuries both to drivers who had been drinking and to passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. This number represents 652 serious injuries every month, or 22 injured people every single day.
Floridians are more likely than the national average to admit to driving drunk (CDC).
The CDC polls adults in all 50 states to see how many admit that they have tried to drive a car after drinking too much to do so safely. Results show that Florida’s drivers are more likely to admit they have driven drunk – 2.1 percent of adults in Florida admitted to drunk driving in a CDC poll, compared to a nationwide average of 1.9 percent.
Florida’s drunk driving death rates are higher than the national average (CDC).
According to the CDC, the nationwide drunk driving death rate is 3.3 deaths per 100,000 people – but in Florida, the number jumps to 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Among Floridians ages 21 to 34, the difference between the national death rate and Florida’s is even greater: 6.7 per 100,000 nationwide, compared to 8.0 per 100,000 within the state.
Taxpayers foot a bill of $3.5 billion each year for drunk driving accidents and deaths (MADD).
Police, fire, ambulances, emergency medical care, delays in traffic, street cleanup, impounding vehicles, chemical testing, criminal charges, monitoring of individuals convicted of drunk driving, long-term medical bills for severely injured crash victims, property damage, lost productivity at work, insurance disputes – the costs of drunk driving add up, and a large share of those costs are borne by Florida taxpayers.
Men are more likely than women to die in crashes caused by drunk driving (CDC).
In Florida, male motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are more likely than female motorists, pedestrians or bicyclists to die in a drunk driving crash. An analysis of crashes in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher found that 5.7 men per 100,000 died in drunk driving crashes, compared to 1.7 women per 100,000. Both numbers were higher than the national averages of 5.2 men and 1.5 women per 100,000.
Underage and binge drinking are significant problems in Florida – and a big contributor to drunk driving car accidents (MADD).
A MADD study of underage and binge drinking found that among young people ages 12 to 20, 28 percent admitted to drinking alcohol at least once in the previous month – a total of 595,000 Florida teens and young adults. In this same age group, 17.6 percent, or 376,000, admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Young drivers already face some of the worst car crash rates on Florida roads due to lack of experience behind the wheel. When alcohol is added to the mix, the problem becomes much worse.
Drivers between ages 15 and 24 were the most likely to cause a drunk driving crash (FLHMSV).
In one recent year, drivers in Florida between 15 and 19 years of age caused 610 drunk driving accidents and 23 fatal drunk driving crashes, despite being prohibited from legally consuming alcohol. Drivers between the ages of 20 and 24 – an age group that includes both minors and those legally old enough to drink – caused 2,264 drunk-driving accidents in Florida, including 100 fatal crashes. Together, these two age groups accounted for more than twice as many crashes as their next-oldest counterparts, drivers in their late 20s, and more than three times as many crashes as drivers in their 50s.
Drunk driving crash rates are going down – but the number of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists killed or injured in drunk driving crashes is going up (FLHSMV).
Between 2009 and 2010, the overall rate of drunk driving crashes dropped by 11.6 percent, according to the FLHMSV. But the rate of pedestrian deaths jumped 3.5 percent, and the rate of motorcyclist and motorcycle passenger deaths jumped an astonishing 20 percent. Bicyclists also suffered nearly 4 percent more serious injuries in drunk-driving crashes. These numbers increased even though the total number of pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcyclist deaths and injuries dropped overall.
Choosing to walk home after you’ve been drinking won’t always keep you safe (FLHSMV).
As a pedestrian who has been drinking, you won’t be pulled over by police for drunk driving – although you may face penalties for public drunkenness or unruliness in some locales. But, according to the FLHSMV, “Drinking is a major problem with pedestrians in crashes.” In one recent year, 9.4 percent of all pedestrians involved in car accidents were under the influence of alcohol when the vehicle hit them. Taking a cab, using a ride-sharing service, staying at a friend’s house or trusting a sober designated driver may be safer options for Florida pedestrians.
Bicycling while intoxicated can also cause a serious crash (FLHSMV).
In a single year, according to the FLHSMV, 69 bicyclists suffered incapacitating injuries after they attempted to ride their bicycles on public roads while drunk, resulting in a collision with a motor vehicle. Twenty-two bicyclists who attempted to ride while drunk lost their lives in crashes with cars. The numbers show that bicycling under the influence is a risky proposition.
Holidays are the most dangerous time for alcohol-related crashes on Florida roads (FLHSMV).
Florida tracks drunk-driving-related crashes, injuries and deaths during six major holiday periods: New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. During Labor Day, 15 people died in drunk driving car crashes in the 96-hour holiday period, or a rate of one person every 6.4 hours.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a family member to a drunk driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. Contacting a Jacksonville personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your legal rights.