Are DUI crimes in the US increasing or decreasing?
Drunk driving is a big problem in the United States, much like it is for a lot of places around the world. Alcohol impairs reaction time, judgment, vision, and balance. A lot of fatalities have been recorded over the years as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol. Each day, around 28 people die due to motor vehicle accidents involving an impaired driver (in the United States). This is equivalent to one death per 53 minutes. Let us take a look at DUI statistics and if they are increasing or decreasing, due to the measures being implemented by the government.
Putting the problem in perspective
According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) data, more than 1.1 million drivers were arrested due to driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. However, take note that there is an average of 121 million episodes in which drunk drivers report themselves to be impaired while driving. This means that a mere one percent is arrested. In the year 2014, 9,967 died due to motor vehicle crashes involving driving while drunk, which is 31 percent of all traffic-related crashes.
Drugs other than alcohol, whether legal or illegal, account for about 16 percent of these motor vehicle crashes. The use of marijuana is increasing, especially with some states declaring it to be legal. 13 percent of drivers driving during weekend evenings have marijuana in their system. Studies show that marijuana users are 25 percent more likely to be involved in a car crash than those who don’t have marijuana in their system.
Increase or decrease?
A positive thing that can be taken is that the total number of alcohol-related deaths while driving under the influence has actually decreased since 1982, and if the trend continues, will decrease even further. From 1982 to 2014, there was a 53 percent decrease. Since 2005, where there were 13,581 fatalities recorded due to DUI crimes, there was a 27 percent decrease to the 9,967 deaths recorded in 2014.
The rate of alcohol-related driving deaths per 100,000 population has also significantly decreased. In 1982, there was a 9.1 rate recorded, which went down to 3.1 in 2014, for a 66 percent decrease.
Between the years 2005 and 2014, all but two states recorded significant declines in drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people. The District of Columbia had the biggest decline at -76.6 percent. Only North Dakota (+3.6 percent) and Utah (+43.9 percent) logged increases in this particular category.
How can deaths and injuries due to car crashes involving an impaired driver be further lessened? Essentially, the driver should not get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. This is the best and most effective way, according to Mark Alberson, a Phoenix DUI defense attorney.
One way to do this is to have a designated driver during social gatherings – one who does not or did not drink any alcohol for that time. Planning ahead and designating a sober driver ahead of time is always helpful.
There is always the option of using public transportation like buses, trains, or taxis; preferably with a friend. Apps such as Uber and Lyft are also helpful during times of too much drinking.
If you are a friend of someone who is about to or planning to drive even after drinking some alcohol, it’s better to prevent him from doing so and causing possible harm to himself or others. You can either offer him a ride, be the one to get him a taxi, or look for other possible ways for him to get home.