3 DUI Statistics You Should Know
Welcome to FindLaw's DUI Law series. If you have been charged with a DUI, know someone who has, or just want to know about the law and how to protect your rights during a DUI stop, please come back each week for more information.
Drunk driving is dangerous and can have serious consequences for the drinking driver and everyone around. But DUI is a relatively common crime, one committed by people of all backgrounds and classes.
Sometimes people drive while intoxicated because they don't realize they are doing it, unaware that they're impaired until too late. Others just don't appreciate the gravity of the risk, which includes not only lost lives but also criminal charges. So let's take a look at some DUI statistics that may influence your decision to drive while intoxicated or to let others do so.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects all kinds of information on the America roadways. It measures driver intoxication in various places, assesses the effectiveness and activities of DUI/DWI courtroom cases, and attempts to determine the impact of driving while intoxicated on the nation. The agency measures lives lost, the cost of accidents caused by drunk driving, and whether efforts made by various agencies and programs are improving the situation.
The following are DUI statistics to seriously consider:
- Weekends Are Dangerous: The last year that the the NHTSA did a comprehensive assessment of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs around the country was in 2013 and 2014. The information is based on data from volunteers in 300 locations in the U.S. The agency noted that in 2013/2014, about 1.5 percent of weekend drivers had blood alcohol concentrations at or above the legal limit of .08 breath alcohol concentration (BAC) and 8.3 percent of drivers had a measurable amount of alcohol in their systems.
- Things Are Getting Better: Although it would no doubt be better if no one ever drove drunk, the last few decades of consciousness about the dangers of drunk driving have had an important impact on people generally. The NHTSA reports that the proportion of drivers during weekend nighttime hours who are at or above the legal limit of .08 BAC decreased by 80 percent between 1973 and 2013/2014. The proportion with any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems dropped by about 77 percent. Those are substantial improvements since the first year that the data was collected, which was in 1973.
- Drug Use Is Up: While alcohol consumption by drivers on the road appears to have generally decreased, the NHTSA did see an increase in drug use over the years. More than 15 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one illegal drug, up from 12 percent in 2007.
The NHTSA states that generally drunk driving is decreasing but driving under the influence of drugs is up. Remember, though, that the crimes DUI and DWI refer to intoxication, and not just alcohol. Anything that impairs your ability to drive safely should be avoided.
If you have been charged with DUI, talk to a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk about your case.
- Hit with a DUI? Get your case reviewed by an experienced attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Can Passengers Drink in a Car? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Examples of Two Drunk Driving Cases (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
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