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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Statistics of Drunk Driving Related Accidents...

In relation to a story I read on my local news widget to the right here, I looked up the statistics of accidents and deaths directly due to drunk driving. My aim was to specifically find the stats for Under Age drinking related accidents and deaths in my particular state, all I could find was national statistics, here is what I found: (you can skip over most of the stats, just the colored parts are the pertinent info I wanted to convey)

United States Drunk Driving Car Accident Statistics (2008)

* There were 11,773 drunk driving deaths in 2008.
* 2008 showed a 9.7% decrease from 2007 in alcohol-impaired driving deaths.
* Drunk driving deaths (11,773) accounted for 32% of the total amount of United States car accident deaths (37,261) in 2008.
* 1,347 children ages 14 and younger died as occupants in car accidents in 2008. Of those deaths, 216 (approx 16%) were the direct result of drunk drivers.
* Along with the 1,347 child occupant fatalities, another 34 children died as pedestrians or bikers who were hit by drunk drivers.
* Nighttime drivers were four times more likely to die in drunk driving crashes in 2008 than those driving during the daytime.
* In 2008, weekend drivers were twice as likely to be involved in drinking and driving car crashes than weekday drivers.

** The 21-24 age group accounted for 34% of all alcohol-impaired-drivers who died in accidents in 2008. The 25-34 demographic accounted for 31%, while those from 35-44 years of age accounted for 25%.
** Despite being under the legal drinking age, American teens from the ages of 16-20 were more likely to be killed while driving under the influence than adults ages 55-64. Teens accounted for 17% of all drivers who were involved in drunk driving crashes, while those from 55-64 accounted for 12%.
*Of the drunk driving crashes where seat belt use was known, nearly 75% of all drunk drivers killed in accidents in 2008 weren't wearing seat belts.
*In the United States, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher is considered above the legal limit in nearly every state. The most frequently recorded BAC level among drivers who were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving accidents in 2008 was .16, or twice the legal limit.

*Drunk drivers who were over the legal limit when they died in 2008 were eight times more likely to have been previously convicted for drunk driving.
*In 2008, 6,316 passenger vehicle drivers were over the legal limit when car crashes claimed their lives.
*In 2008, it was more dangerous to drive drunk on a motorcycle than in any other vehicle. The percentage of bikers with a BAC level of .08 or greater when they died in a crash was higher than the amount of drunk drivers who died while operating other vehicle types.


What is important about the parts I bolded and made blue is that the argument in the comments section of the story began to focus on lowering the "legal drinking age" and "raising the driving age to 18 yrs of age ONLY and that if our kids are old enough to go war and kill another human being, they should be given the right to drink alcohol at the age of 18. Yeah, that balances out the responsibility and the maturity (or lack thereof) factor, doesn't it?

One gentleman even suggested that he'd rather have the "teens" imbibing alcoholic beverages in public legally, rather than hiding it and then resulting in yet another under-aged drunk driving statistic. While I understand his logic somewhat, it doesn't make sense to me to legalize teen drinking, because NOW they aren't hiding it anymore and they are out on "the street" wreaking havoc. I think the deaths related to this would increase dramatically because now "its okay to go get drunk in public and think I can drive me and my friends either home or to the next party."

If the 21-24 age group accounts for 34%, and the 25-34 group accounted for 31%, while admittedly the teen group accounted for only 17%, wouldn't lowering the drinking age raise the teens percentage?? And really, how has "legally drinking (21+)" people shown more responsibility than teens who are hiding????

Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT advocate lowering the drinking age for teens, nor do I advocate that teens "handle" alcohol better than so called adults. What I do advocate is if our country is going to continue to hand out licenses to immature and irresponsible teenagers who think it's "cool" to get behind the wheel of a 3000+ lb vehicle after drinking themselves silly, then it should also get behind making the parents more responsible for their kids' actions seeing as they thought it was "cool" to let their TEEN drive in the first place.

Start by making education classes for teen driving MANDATORY for both the teen AND the adult, BEFORE they even take the written test, this might make the parent think twice before forking up the money for the license, the insurance and the car keys. And then move on to prosecuting both the teen AND the parents of the teen involved in any kind of violation to the under age drinking law...whether the teen was only caught driving drunk or drunk period, right on up to a death resulting from the irresponsible act.

And while we're at it, how about the Government step in and enact a law that states something like...For every death resultant of an underage drunk driver (whether the said driver survives or not), there will be an additional $5000.00 charge to said driver and/or parents, to be paid to each decedent and/or said decedents family. This is in addition to the insurance that is paid out.

Now that may sound a bit harsh for the poorer folks in our country, but it's about time we cracked down on this issue. It's high time we stopped just slapping the hands of the teens who abuse the responsibility and privilege of being a driver on our roads with fines and community service and make them see that it IS indeed a huge responsibility, a huge privilege and not just a given right to operate a vehicle because they turned 15 years and 8 months old! Let's stop putting a huge Mickey Mouse bandaid on the problem and start taking the steps necessary to solve it!

Much luvz, Witchie!

3 comments:

  1. Amen to this post. I really like that you said make the class mandatory for the teen AND the parent!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there and you will probably laught at this, but I am following from a very late Friday Follow! You can also follow me back at www.safehomehappymom.com

    Hey, at least I got to the end of my to-do list for the week. Head on over to Safe Home Happy Mom for safe and green parenting alerts. Be sure to subscribe because we do giveaway safe, green and super quality products every week.

    Love, love your blog, I will be digging into archives here.

    Have a great weekend ahead.

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  3. Thank you very much ladies.

    Safe Mom...I am a follower now too...love your stuff too!!

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