Legal Review: Drunk Driving in 2021, What You Need to Know

Did you know that, on average, drinking and driving kills 28 people a day in the United States? That’s around one person every 52 minutes. In total, there are over 10,000 people who lose their lives to drunk driving every year.

We have known for quite some time now how dangerous drinking and driving is. It’s become clear that drinking alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and reaction time, and those two things can heavily impact road safety.

Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.08 or higher is considered legally impaired. Driving with alcohol in your system can have significant consequences on both the driver themselves and other drivers and pedestrians nearby.

Read on to learn more about the consequences of drunk driving in the United States so far in 2021.

Deaths Caused by Drunk Driving

Sadly, drunk driving accidents cause more than 10,000 deaths every year and contribute to about 30 percent of all United States traffic-related deaths. In 2018 alone, drunk drivers killed over 230 children under the age of 14.

While the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities is over 10,000 every year, there has been a slow downward trend over the last few years. In 2016, for example, there were 10,967 drunk driving fatalities, while in 2019, there were 10,142.

Drunk Driving Statistics for 2021

Motorcyclists, younger people ages 21 to 34, and drivers previously convicted of a DUI are some of the most at risk for drunk driving. Statistically, changing the minimum drinking age to 21 has saved over 30,000 lives since 1975.

When broken down by gender, men are four times more involved in drunk driving incidents than women. Men also make up around 80 percent of drunk driving fatalities. Generally speaking, it takes approximately four drinks for a 180-pound man to reach a BAC of 0.08, while a 120-pound woman would need only two drinks to reach that number.

When drunk driving is looked at by location, it is clear that California has the highest drunk driving fatalities year to year. Some of the other states with high alcohol-related accident fatality rates include Florida and Texas. On the other hand, some of the safest states when it comes to drinking and driving are Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

Links Between The COVID-19 Pandemic and Drunk Driving

In September 2020, mid-pandemic, drunk driving fatalities had increased close to five percent compared to the same time one year earlier. This increase happened despite a decrease in the average total miles traveled.

“In the midst of the pandemic and the stressors that accompanied it, additional concerning driving trends may also be on the rise,” says D.C. criminal attorney Shawn Sukumar of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP.  “In addition to alcohol-based driving under the influence charges, a person can be charged for DUI for drug-related impairments as well. With a drug related DUI, the procedure is very similar to the procedure for being charged with an alcohol-related DUI.”

Drunk Driving Trending Downwards

Despite the high number of fatalities caused by drunk driving in recent years, this number has been trending downwards over the last ten years. Stronger enforcement of safe driving behaviors from activist groups, public agencies, and citizens has helped lower the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities every year.

Hopefully, with more use of driver services like Lyft and Uber and raised awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, the number of drunk driving accidents and fatalities will continue to fall.