The number of drunk driving deaths in Virginia in one decade would have wiped out a small town. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from 2003 to 2012, 2,613 people in Virginia lost their lives in crashes that involved drunk drivers. The CDC put together a fact sheet to highlight the magnitude of the problem of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities to spur the public to address this issue.
The Numbers by Age Group
The CDC Fact Sheet compared Virginia’s drunk driving deaths to the national statistics by age. Nationally, the rates of deaths per 100,000 population were:
- Ages 0 – 20, 1.3 deaths per 100,000 population
- Ages 21 – 34, 6.7 deaths per 100,000 population
- Ages 35+, 3.2 deaths per 100,000 population
- For all ages, 3.3 deaths per 100,000 population
Compared those national numbers to Virginia’s statistics:
- Ages 0 – 20, 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population
- Ages 21 – 34, 4.5 deaths per 100,000 population
- Ages 35+, 2.6 deaths per 100,000 population
- For all ages, 2.5 deaths per 100,000 population
Although our numbers are a little better than the national average, the number of alcohol-related crash deaths in Virginia is still too high.
The Gender Difference
Nationally, 5.2 males per 100,000 population lose their lives in drunk driving accidents. Compare this to 4.1 deaths of male Virginians per 100,000. Women tend to have much lower numbers for drunk driving deaths, both across the U.S. and in our state. Per 100,000 population, 1.5 women nationally and 0.9 women in Virginia die in alcohol-related crashes.
Adults Who Admit to Driving After Drinking Too Much
Across America, 1.9% of adults admit that they have driven after drinking too much during the last 30 days. In Virginia, the number is slightly lower, at 1.4 percent. With a U.S. population well over 300 million, that means that more than a million drunk drivers were on the road with you last month. That number represents only the people who admit to the behavior. The actual numbers could be much higher.
What the Numbers Mean
In recent years, the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes has decreased. The CDC credits the lower numbers to a combination of efforts dedicated to reducing the incidence of drunk driving. Some of the strategies include:
- Nationwide laws that define drunk driving as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
- A minimum drinking age of 21 in all 50 states
- Zero tolerance laws that make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their body
- Sobriety checkpoints, which Virginia allows
- Ignition interlocks on the cars of people convicted of drunk driving
- Mass media campaigns to educate the public
- School-based programs that teach teens not to be a passenger in a car with an alcohol-impaired driver
Deaths from drunk driving are preventable. If people of all ages will change their mindset about the consequences of drunk driving, the number of needless deaths can continue to diminish.
If you were hurt or your loved one died from injuries that happened in an alcohol-related collision, the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can help. Do not delay, as Virginia imposes a brief statute of limitations for filing a personal injury (§8.01-243) or wrongful death claim (§ 8.01-244). Call us today at (571) 229-1800 for a free consultation. When we take care of your legal matters, you can focus on your family and on getting well.