Drunk driving is one of the deadliest driver mistakes in Georgia. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol can make it impossible for drivers to remain in proper control of their vehicles. This can lead to catastrophic car accidents such as head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, wrong-way crashes and pedestrian collisions.
Over the last few decades, national and state reporting systems have collected drunk driving data in an effort to better understand this deadly issue. Georgia lawmakers then use this information to create DUI awareness, education, and safety programs.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving in Georgia refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for drivers 21 and older. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 may face DUI charges with 0.02% or greater BACs. Commercial drivers may be guilty of drunk driving with BAC levels of 0.04% or higher. Driving with any alcohol in one’s system can put the driver and others on the roadway at risk. Alcohol impedes many important functions for driving.
- Reaction time
- Cognitive function
- Muscle control
Drunk driving kills. A drunk driver is more likely to engage in dangerous driving practices such as speeding, tailgating, running a red light, wrong-way driving, and ignoring rights-of-way. Drunk drivers often cannot stay in their lanes, and may make unsafe merges or lane changes. They can – and do – cause serious and deadly auto accidents in Georgia.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Keeping track of drunk driving accident statistics can help drivers realize just how deadly this act of recklessness can be. Understanding the magnitude of drunk driving injuries and deaths often takes looking at the numbers. Every year, thousands of people lose their lives in preventable drunk driving accidents. The following are some of the most recent statistics for the U.S. and Georgia.
- Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. suffers an injury in a drunk driving crash. In 2017, 10,874 people in the country lost their lives in DUI accidents. Over 300,000 suffered personal injuries.
- In 2016, 28% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in the United States involved alcohol-impaired driving. Drunk driving costs the U.S. economy around $250 billion per year.
- In 2016, drunk drivers caused 368 deaths in the state of Georgia. Drunk driving deaths accounted for 24% of all Georgia traffic fatalities in 2016. The majority of fatalities (62%) were drunk drivers, 29% were motor vehicle occupants, and 948 were non-occupants.
- In 2016, 214 fatal DUI accident victims were 14 or younger. DUI accidents accounted for 17% of the total number of child traffic accident deaths in the U.S.
- Nighttime fatal DUI accidents are more common than daytime incidents (30% vs. 9%). Weekends are also more dangerous in terms of DUIs than weekdays (26% vs. 14%).
- Georgia courts issued 22,955 driving under the influence convictions in 2017. This is down significantly from the 10-year high of 44,017 DUI convictions in 2008, as well as the lowest number of convictions since 2007.
- In 2017, 431 drivers in Georgia received third-offense DUI convictions, while 2,972 were second offenders. Many drivers who cause fatal drunk driving accidents have previous DUI records.
- Over a 10-year period, about 3,700 people died in drunk driving accidents in Georgia. More men died in DUI crashes than women (5.2 and 4.9 per 100,000 population, respectively).
Thousands of people suffer preventable injuries and die as a result of drunk driving. Drunk driving is a form of recklessness that can have dire consequences for the driver and others. Causing a DUI accident could result in thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail. It could also lead to liability for others’ damages, injuries, or deaths. Never drink and drive.