Drunk Driving Statistics: 2012 NHTSA Report

Drunk driving has been a problem in the US ever since the automobile became widely available to the average American. Since then, a number of public safety groups and government organizations have emerged in an attempt to remedy the number of drunk driving related accidents that occur each year. While the overall number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased over the years, 2012 saw a slight uptick in that number. We combed through recent research and crash data and think you’ll be surprised by some of our findings.

Drunk Driving Statistics from NHTSA 2012 Report

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) has released its 2012 crash/ drunk driving data. This data is collected from accident reports around the country and some interesting and useful information can be taken away from it. Here are the highlights (or more accurately, the lowlights):

  • Alcohol-related crashes were primarily caused by men (75% of total drunk drivers) between the ages of 21 and 30 (84% of all alcohol-related crashes occurred within this age group).
  • While the number of accidents caused by drunk driving rose slightly from 2011 to 2012, the number of deaths from these crashes remained the same.
  • 90% of people who died in drunk driving-related accidents in 2012 were either the drunk driver themselves or their passengers.
  • Most alcohol-related accidents occurred between 8pm and 11:59pm (a total of 1,114). The number dropped significantly to 150 for the hours of midnight to 3:59am.
  • Thanksgiving Day saw more drunk driving accidents than any other Holiday during the year.
  • According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, North Dakota has the highest rate of drunk driving.

What Can We Learn From Drunk Driving Data?

Older drivers and female drivers seem to be taking the advice of anti-drunk driving proponents seriously. 21 to 30 year old males seem to be the crux of the issue and forthcoming campaigns from Anti-Drunk Driving groups should make a point of focusing on that fact and tailoring their marketing this demographic. In addition to marketing and education campaigns, enforcement remains one of the most effective ways to reduce drunk driving numbers. Targeted enforcement areas, an increase in patrols on weekends, and an increase in the number and frequency of sobriety checkpoints can help control drunk driving, especially within a targeted geographic area.

Alternatives to Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving carries increasingly heavy penalties including fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and 7-10 years of expensive car insurance rates just to name a few. The total cost of drinking and driving related offenses range from $5,000 to as much as $20,000 for the first offense (The average nationwide is $10,000). There’s a really simple way to avoid having to deal with a DUI or DWI—several actually.

  • Have a designated driver—one you know won’t be drinking at all.
  • If you’re a AAA member, they’ll tow your car home for free (once) if you’ve had too much to drink.
  • Many cities have “drunk cabs” or other community service organizations that will drive you home for free if you’ve been drinking. Some of them even keep a second driver on hand so they can drive your vehicle home for you.
  • Drinking at a friend’s house? See if you can spend the night.
  • Call a cab.

Avoid Being a Drunk Driving Statistic

For those of us who know better and follow the rules, it’s important to remember that you could still be at risk of being involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident. To decrease your risk, keep these things in mind:

  • Avoid driving between 8pm and midnight, particularly on the weekends.
  • Avoid driving on major holidays. If you can, get to your destination the day before and leave the day after. Thanksgiving is one exception—accident rates are higher the day before, the day of, and the day after. If you plan on traveling a significant distance, leave earlier and stay a day longer, despite Benjamin Franklin’s advice to the contrary. It’s better to be safe and have to spend an extra day with your parents than to cut out early and run the risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
  • Be a defensive driver. Watch other vehicles, and give them extra space. Being an aggressive driver (not letting cars merge, speeding, etc.) won’t end well for you either if the driver your dealing with is intoxicated.

Car Safety Guides

Safety is one of the most important aspects of a car. We’ve written a number of car safety guides to help you stay informed and brush up on some not-so-common driving knowledge. The safer you are, the less you pay.Read through the car safety guides below for tips on how to be the safest you can be in your car and on the road. Even if you’re a good driver, a little extra info can keep you that much safer.

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