Alcohol is involved in more than half of the United States' traffic deaths. About 25,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes each year.
The adolescent driver is highly represented among drunken driving accidents. Among these adolescent drivers, the young male is at the highest risk of driving under the influence.January has the fewest fatalities, with July and August having the most. Sixty-seven percent of the alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents occur on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Seventy percent of all car crashes involving alcohol occur between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. The holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day account for 65 percent of all holiday deaths involving alcohol and driving.
Other groups of drivers with heavy drunken driving involvement include alcoholics and "bad drivers" who drink, according to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.
"Bad drivers" consist of those who violate the traffic laws and are often in motor vehicle accidents. These people are considered as "high risk" drivers when coupled with their use of alcohol. Ample studies report that alcoholics and problem drinkers are more often involved in driving accidents than non-alcoholics.
The question as to why "bad drivers" are found driving under the influence of alcohol more often than "good drivers" needs to be addressed. Researchers answer by reporting that high-risk drivers are more aggressive and believe they can handle themselves while drinking alcohol.
Driving performance deteriorates at blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .02 to .03 percent. Even though studies substantiate this, most states adhere to a BAC of .10 percent. This means that an average-size male could not drink two medium drinks over an hour and drive because he would test as having a .10 percent BAC. This is interesting in view of the fact that one's driving performance can be affected at between .02 and .03 percent BAC.
Alcohol is a depressant - it slows down the body. The drunk driver is therefore not as able to react quickly to a dangerous situation as when sober because of the alcohol's effects. Alcohol can also release inhibition so that a driver won't worry about his driving performance. Alcohol also disallows the eye's ability to control the amount of light entering the eye. This could cause impaired vision so one could be more easily blinded by an oncoming car's headlights.
Contrary to popular belief that drunks aren't injured as severely in a crash as a sober person would be, alcohol-impaired crash victims actually suffer more serious injuries than sober victims. Besides, the drunk driver is more likely to have a crash, thus increasing his likelihood for an injury. Alcohol also complicates a physician's task during treatment because injuries can be masked by the drunkenness and the victim may be uncooperative.
America is growing increasingly more concerned about drunken driving and is moving away from a passive acceptance of those drinking and driving.