Car Accidents and Alcohol

A Multi-disciplinary rescue team, consisting of paramedics, fireman and a police officer tending to the victim of a car crash
A Multi-disciplinary rescue team, consisting of paramedics, fireman and a police officer tending to the victim of a car crash

In the United States approximately thirty people die daily on roadways in car accidents involving alcohol, with an annual cost of more than $100 billion dollars. The National Highway Safety Administration and MADD statistics show approximately one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related accident within their lifetime. Car insurance premiums rise due to these types of car collisions and in an effort to reduce alcohol-related crashes police set up checkpoints in high traffic areas. These checkpoints are generally located near nightclubs, bars and other establishments selling alcohol to combat the driver who gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

The Law and Alcohol Related Crashes

In every state the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages is 21, with the law being specific and harsh for the driver under 21 who is legally impaired by alcohol. These drivers will lose their driving privileges for driving under the influence, whether they are involved in a car accident or not. The driver who is under the influence is generally ordered to attend impaired driving education, which will include driver awareness and other materials. There are some states considering requiring blood alcohol testing for drivers who are involved in a collision that involves injuries, whether the driver appears to be under the influence or not as a way to battle driving under the influence crashes.

Teen Drinking and Driving

Statistical data shows that teens are approximately three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash due to inexperience driving. When alcohol is involved the risk of fatality during a crash greatly increases. Law enforcement has worked to reduce the risk with laws in place that have a zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving and a time restrictive driver’s license until the age of 18 in many states. These and other measures, since 1991 have helped in reducing fatalities and underage drinking and driving about 54 percent. Law enforcement agencies ensure establishments selling alcohol comply with the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol. Parents can also be effective in helping to reduce the risk of teens consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Drinking and Driving Arrests

The highest rate of drinking under the influence arrest occurs in drivers between the ages of 21 and 25 years old. Adding to this statistic approximately one-third of drivers who have been arrested and convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders, which means they have had more than the current conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Consuming Alcohol and Driving

The average person who consumes an alcoholic drink, their body will take approximately one hour per drink to metabolize it. Due to this amount of time of an hour to metabolize one drink, the driver who is arrested may not realize they have a blood alcohol concentration level to drive a motor vehicle.

War on Drinking and Driving

There is a large effort by law enforcement, government agencies and advocacy groups to educate drivers about getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol by using television, social media and other types of advertising. These advertisements are geared to make drivers, friends, family and parents aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated. The goal is for drivers who have consumed alcohol to make other arrangements, such as calling someone, taking a taxicab or to have a designated driver who will not

The goal is for drivers who have consumed alcohol to make other arrangements, such as calling someone, taking a taxicab or to have a designated driver who will not be consuming alcohol. This advertising generally increases near certain holidays or the offer of free transportation, such as taxicabs and buses on some holidays when people will be drinking.

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