« How a DWI Conviction Affects your Car Insurance
DUI Accident Trends
June 8, 2012
Automobile accidents that result in a death are always tragic. Those that could be completely avoided, such as those resulting from driving under the influence, are even more heartbreaking. State and local governments have been actively working to reduce these types of accidents. Just how effective have their efforts been?
One tool for determining if alcohol-impaired driving is getting better or worse is by asking a survey group to self-report their recent behavior. The CDC has been compiling data from such surveys for more than a decade. According to the most recent data, alcohol-impaired driving has decreased. Of course what people say and what they actually do are often not the same. Therefore, it is also important to look at the fatalities associated with impaired drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the overall trends for the same time period appear very similar. After a brief spike around 2006, the number of deaths associated with DUIs has steadily been going down. It is important to note, however, with these national statistics represent the entire country. Individual states may be experiencing very different results. The most recent data actually shows a sharp statistical increase in fatalities resulting from alcohol-related accidents.
Who’s at risk?
Two of the groups at greatest risk for driving under the influence are young drivers, those between the ages of 21 and 24, and repeat offenders. The approaches to these two groups are very different.
The best way to prevent young drivers from driving while intoxicated appears to be education. This must start much earlier than the risk age group, however. Law enforcement and groups dedicated to reducing drunk driving must actively reach out to teens and young adults. Groups can help make students aware of the risks associated with driving drunk, how to resist peer pressure to drink excessively, and how to tell when they have had too much to drink. Law enforcement officials also have several options. Minimum age requirements for the purchase and consumption of alcohol, zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 found to be driving while under the influence and a strict enforcement of laws regulating blood alcohol levels appear to be especially helpful for young drivers.
Repeat offenders are probably the biggest challenge for law enforcement officials. Drivers involved in fatal accidents where the legal alcohol blood level was exceeded were far more likely to have previously been convicted of driving while intoxicated. This indicates that if a person is willing to drive while under the influence of alcohol once they are likely to repeat the behavior in the future, often with even more disastrous results. There are a few ways this behavior can be more strongly discouraged. The maximum allowable blood alcohol level can be decreased, federal and state taxes on alcohol can be increased, blood alcohol level testing can be made mandatory in accidents which result in any injury, and an increased number of random sobriety checkpoints can be implemented.
What else can be done?
As discussed before, national trends are encouraging. It appears the strategies that have been implemented in the past decade have been working. Unfortunately, these numbers also show that the strategies are still not enough and are not as effective in all areas of the country. Because of this, many states are looking for more proactive measures. Some states are beginning to use ignition interlock systems for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence. These devices require the driver pass a breathalyzer test, using a device that has been installed, before their vehicle will start. Most states require the individual pay for all installation and maintenance costs, limiting the financial burden on the states. Some of the most progressive states are requiring these devices even for first time offenders.
Perhaps making these devices standard in all vehicles would completely eliminate automobile accidents caused by those driving under the influence of alcohol.
Tags: Guest Post
This entry was posted
Friday, June 8th, 2012 at
5:43 am and is filed under
Guest Post .
You can follow any responses to this entry through the
RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.