Drunk Driving and Car Accidents: Who is At Risk?

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 159 million self-reported incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) each year and of those, less than 1 percent or just over 1.4 million drivers are actually arrested for DUI.

This means that at practically any time of the day, there is a drunk driver on the road and statistics show that across the United States, 32 people die every day in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. Breaking these figures down would show that every 45 minutes, one person is killed by an alcohol-impaired driver.

Impaired driving, specifically DUI, is a huge safety problem in the U.S. Aside from being a leading cause of fatalities, billions of dollars are spent on medical expenses, treatment, as well as repair of property damage caused by drunk drivers – alcohol-related crashes costs more than $51 billion annually.

But what makes drunk driving so dangerous? Why is it that there are per se laws in all states such as California that make it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol?

While alcohol may be perceived as a stimulant (mild euphoria and stimulation of behavior are some minor effects) it is actually a central nervous system depressant that can adversely affect a person’s driving skills such as slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, and blurred vision.

This is why the higher a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is, the greater his possibility of getting involved in a police-reported accident or dying in a crash. A person’s risk of being in an accident increases significantly after a .05 percent BAC and that is why all states and the District of Columbia have made it a crime to drive with a BAC at or above .08 percent.

However, despite the presence of drunk driving laws, many people continue to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs causing numerous accidents and fatalities as a result. Here are the group of people most at risk for driving under the influence of alcohol:

Teenagers and Drivers 21-24 years older

While there is a legal age when one can lawfully drink alcohol, underage drinking is still huge problem. Teens may be less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol but when they do, their crash risk is substantially higher. Even at low or moderate BACs, younger drivers are more likely to crash because of their inexperience or inability to drive safely after drinking. Also, 1 out of 3 drivers with BAC levels at or above .08 percent involved in a crash was aged between 21-24 years old.


A large number of motorcyclists (30 percent) who were killed in a crash had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater.

Repeat DUI drivers

Statistics show that most of the drivers involved in fatal DUI crashes are 8 times more likely to have a prior conviction for DUI.

If you want to protect your friends and family, remember to not drink and drive. Indulging in alcohol may seem like a good idea when unwinding after hard day’s work but it’s even harder to pick up the pieces of your life if you get involved in an accident because you drove drunk and seriously hurt or killed someone.

If you were involved in an car accident in California because of a drunk driver, you have the right to press charges against him and recover compensation through a car accident lawyer. The Mesriani Law Group offers a free case analysis and evaluation for personal injury cases such car accidents involving drunk drivers. You may call us at our hotline number: 1-866-325-4529 or visit us at 12400 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 810 Los Angeles California, 90025.