Everyone knows of the dangers of drunk driving. Even “buzzed” driving can greatly affect your motor skills and cause a serious car accident. How common and dangerous are drunken driving accidents in Florida? Here are some facts about drunk driving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
–Between 2003 and 2012, 8476 people lost their lives in Florida drunk driving accidents (CDC). On average, this means that 850 people lost their lives each year – or 71 per month, 17 per week, or just over two per day, every day, for 10 years. In fact, 28 percent of all traffic deaths in Florida are due to drunk driving.
–Floridians are more likely than the national average to admit to driving drunk (CDC). The CDC did a poll in all 50 states to see how many adults admit to having driven after drinking an unsafe amount. The results show that Florida’s drivers are more likely to admit they have driven drunk – 2.1 percent of adults in Florida compared to a nationwide average of 1.9 percent.
–Florida’s drunken driving death rates are higher than the national average. (CDC). According to the CDC, the nationwide drunk driving death rate is 3.3 deaths per 100,000 people. In Florida, however, the rate is 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Among Floridians ages 21 to 34, the difference between the national death rate and Florida’s is even greater: 6.7 per 100,000 nationwide, compared to 8.0 per 100,000 in Florida.
–Men are more likely than women to die in crashes caused by drunk driving (CDC). An analysis of crashes in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher found that 5.7 men per 100,000 died in drunk driving crashes, compared to 1.7 women per 100,000. Both numbers were higher than the national averages of 5.2 men and 1.5 women per 100,000.
–Underage and binge drinking are significant problems in Florida – and a big contributor to drunk driving car accidents (MADD). A MADD study of underage and binge drinking found that among young people ages 12 to 20, 28 percent admitted to drinking alcohol at least once in the previous month – a total of 595,000 Florida teens and young adults. In this same age group, 17.6 percent, or 376,000 admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Even without alcohol, young drivers already are at the biggest risk for car accidents due to lack of experience, so adding alcohol to the mix makes the problem much worse.
–Drunken driving crash rates are going down, but the number of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists killed or injured in drunk driving crashes is going up (FLHSMV). Between 2009 and 2010, the overall rate of drunk driving crashes dropped by 11.6 percent, according to the FLHMSV. But the rate of pedestrian deaths jumped 3.5 percent, and the rate of motorcyclist and motorcycle passenger deaths jumped an astonishing 20 percent. Bicyclists also suffered nearly 4 percent more serious injuries in drunk-driving crashes.
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