Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DUI Drivers actually cause few traffic deaths

Quick Facts About Drunk and Drugged Driving

• In 2005, 16,885 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, accounting for 39% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States (NHTSA 2006).

• An alcohol-related motor vehicle crash kills someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injures someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2006).

• Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (Jones et al. 2003).

• Each year, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion (Blincoe et al. 2002).

• Most drinking and driving episodes go undetected. In 2005, nearly 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (Department of Justice 2005). That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (Quinlan et al. 2005).

Accepting these numbers as correct, and even if we assume that each of the deaths listed above took place in separate incidents, only .02% of episodes involving drivers impaired by alcohol ever end up resulting in an alcohol related motor vehicle accident death.