January 18, 2017 Auto Accidents

 A set of car keys in the foreground and a glass of whiskey behind.

While new data shows there are fewer drunk drivers on the road today than there were a few short years ago, the millions that continue to drive under the influence each year are still alarming. Recent information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that while we are making strides in the area of driving under the influence, there is still much work to be done to make the roads safer for drivers in Los Angeles and across the country.

Drops in DUI span 12 years

SAMHSA released their latest report on December 27, 2016, using data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The information includes self-reported drug and alcohol use before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and spans 2002-2014. Although the rates of driving under the influence declined (from 15.3 percent in 2002 to 11.1 percent in 2014), there were still around 27.7 million drivers age 16 and over that got behind the wheel after drinking.

Some of the biggest drops in driving under the influence occurred among drivers between the ages of 21 and 25. These adults had a rate that dropped from 29.9 percent in 2002 to 18.9 percent in 2014. The research also found that rates of driving under the influence peaked by the age of 29 and then continued a steady decline all the way up to the senior years. Just 4.1 percent of adults age 65 and older reported driving after drinking in 2014.

“Although it is heartening to see a downward trend in the levels of driving under the influence of alcohol, it still kills thousands of people each year and shatters the lives of friends and loved ones left behind,” Frances Harding, Director of SAMSHA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, was quoted as saying in a press release on the organization’s website. “We must strive to save lives by reducing this public health threat through education, prevention and all other possible measures.”

Male drivers had higher rates of driving under the influence than females across all age brackets. Men were also more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. According to this new report, a total of 10.1 million, or 4.1 percent of the population age 16 and over, drove under the influence of illicit drugs during 2014. Another 2.5 percent got behind the wheel after using a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol during that same year, compounding the problem of impaired driving in this country.

Impact of DUI

While positive progress has been made, the number of drivers operating a motor vehicle is still extremely concerning, considering that 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014 related to alcohol use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 9,900 people were killed in accidents involving impaired driving during that year. Over 1.1 million were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2014, which made up only one percent of the total number of people that reported driving while impaired during that year.

Los Angeles car accident attorney Sean F. Salamati has seen firsthand how impaired driving can change lives in a split-second. Our team works with victims of these accidents every day to help them get the financial compensation they are entitled to for injuries, medical bills and lost wages. To get a free assessment of your particular case and answers to all of your legal questions, contact the Salamati Law Firm today.

Additional DUI victim resources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Rate of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol has Steadily Declined from 2002-2014, https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/201612271200
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Drunk Driving, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
  3. MADD, Drunk Driving Statistics, http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html
  4. CDC, Impaired Driving: Get the Facts, https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html