In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that drunk driving deaths in 2019 were at the lowest percentage ever since they started reporting data in 1982. While four decades in the making, it still was not a number to celebrate as more than 10,000 people died in accidents that were entirely preventable, with similar numbers going back to 2010.
The stereotypical drunk driver is considered someone who drank copious amounts of alcohol and decided to drive in their car. They suffer from bleary and bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, minimal reaction time and control, and impaired perception and processing of their driving capability.
Looking at 2018 numbers shatters that stereotype with 1,878 people losing their lives in alcohol-fueled crashes where drunk drivers had blood alcohol contents (BACs) of .01 to .07.
Steps to prevent tragic DUI-related accidents
NHTSA efforts to eliminate drunk driving and the accidents that ensue have taken the form of everything from extensive research to high-profile campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding driving and getting behind the wheel. State safety grant programs continue to fund efforts to push for a time when drunk driving and the deaths that result from those actions end. Getting to zero is a lofty and admirable goal, yet highly unlikely.
Drunk driving is a crime with severe penalties. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish these dangerous people to the fullest extent of the law. Many go to jail or lose their driver’s license. Those that retain those privileges are forced to install ignition interlock devices at their own expense.
The expense for DUI accident victims and their family members is far too great. Regardless of the punishment’s severity, it does little for families grieving the death of a loved one who also deserve some form of justice.