Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people across the U.S. each year, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 10% of those fatalities occur in Florida.
Annual drunk driving fatalities
The NHTSA reports that a total of 10,511 people lost their lives in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in 2018. Texas was the state with the highest number of deaths, with 1,677, and California came in second, with 1,241. Florida was third, with 958 deaths. That number accounted for 31% of the state’s total car accident fatalities in 2018. It also accounted for just over 9% of the nation’s drunk driving deaths.
Key drunk driving statistics
Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment, reaction time and ability to drive safely. In Florida, drivers are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration level reaches .08 or higher.
According to the NHTSA, drunk driving accidents:
- Kill someone every 52 minutes in the U.S.
- Killed more than 230 American children in 2018
- Cost over $44 billion in deaths and damages per year
- Are most common in the months of June, July and August
- Are most commonly caused by young drivers, motorcyclists and drivers with prior DUI convictions
- Are most likely to occur at night
How to prevent drunk driving accidents
Thanks to tougher drunk driving laws and ongoing public awareness campaigns, drunk driving fatalities have dropped by over 30% since 1985. However, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Traffic safety experts say drivers should always arrange for a ride home or a place to stay overnight whenever they go out drinking. They also urge parents to educate teenage drivers about the consequences of drinking and driving.