Summer often means backyard cookouts, camping and trips to the beach and other getaways. These activities often include alcohol, which unfortunately can lead to drunk driving. South Carolina has a number of busy vacation spots, where traffic and alcohol can intersect with disastrous consequences.
It is clear that drunk driving is a serious problem during the summer and throughout the year. However, you might not be aware of the full extent of the problem. Check out these 15 surprising facts about accidents caused by alcohol impairment:
- In 2013, 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Of those deaths, 65 percent were drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The remainder included other car occupants or people outside the car.
- Many drunk driving deaths happen when a driver’s BAC is well above the legal limit. In 2013, 68 percent of the drunk driving deaths happened in accidents in which at least one driver had a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher.
- On average, someone died in a drunk driving accident every 52 minutes in 2013.
- In 2013, 31 percent of all car accident deaths could be attributed to drunk driving.
- Among traffic fatalities for children age 14 and under, 17 percent occurred in drunk driving crashes in 2013.
- More drunk driving accidents happen at night and on weekends. In 2013, the rate of alcohol impairment was nearly four times higher at night than during the day, and 30 percent of drivers involved in fatal weekend crashes were drunk, compared to 15 percent during the week.
- The estimated economic impact of drunk driving accidents totals nearly $50 billion per year, including lost productivity, medical costs, emergency medical services, traffic congestion and property damage. That’s almost $800 for each American adult.
- On average, 2 out of 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving crash at some point in their lifetime, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
- Someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes.
- An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest. NHTSA reports about 1.5 million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence – 1 out of every 121 licensed drivers.
- In 2013, 335 people died in South Carolina drunk driving accidents, according to NHTSA. That represents 44 percent of fatal car accidents in the state, much higher than the national average of 31 percent.
- The 44 percent figure makes South Carolina the state with the highest proportion of fatal crashes caused by drunk driving.
- In 2012, the rate of alcohol involvement in collisions was nearly four times higher at night at 43 percent than during the day at 11 percent, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
- In South Carolina, males account for about 67 percent of drivers in DUI collisions. Being involved in a drunk driving accident in South Carolina is devastating for all involved. These statistics underscore just how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, and the devastating impact making that choice could have. It can be especially hard to deal with the death of someone close to you when you know that death could have been prevented.
For the loved ones of those killed in drunk driving accidents, and the scores who may have been injured in such accidents, it’s important to hold the individuals who drove drunk responsible for their actions. If you have been affected by a drunk driving accident, you should contact an experienced South Carolina injury attorney who will help you through the legal process.