Alcohol-related car crash fatalities hold a significant figure in numbers, but are on a decline.

Austin Gammell
May 7, 2018 · 4 min read

Alcohol-related crashes and fatalities have been dropping at a very small rate since 2005. The numbers have dropped by a couple thousand but still remain to be significant figures.

Of the 32,719 fatalities in 2013 caused by automobile accidents, 10,076 of those crashes involved alcohol-impaired driving according to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). That’s thirty-one percent of car crash fatalities involving alcohol.

Since 2005, the number of fatalities in alcohol-related crashes has decreased. The rate of decline is low, but progress is being made. (NHTSA/graphic)

It was recorded in 2005 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that 13,582 crash fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

The numbers showed a slight decline in the following years. The biggest drop occurred from 2008 to 2009 when the numbers went from 11,711 to 10,759 alcohol-related fatalities.

The statistics saw its only rise between 2011 and 2012 when the numbers went from 9,865 to 10,336. This is especially interesting due to 2011 having the lowest recorded alcohol-related crash fatalities between 2005 to 2014.

A decline started to form once again after the rise. It led to the second lowest recorded data point in 2014 which showed 9,967 alcohol-related crash fatalities.

Statistics by the NHTSA show that an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 53 minutes in 2014.

Fatalities by alcohol-influenced driving were almost at an all time low in 2014. A majority of victims are drivers or passengers of the vehicles involved. (NHTSA/graphic)

The same statistics showed that sixty-four percent of alcohol-involved-fatalities were a driver under the influence of alcohol. Fifteen percent of alcohol-involved-fatalities were passengers who were riding with an alcohol-influenced driver. The remaining twenty-one percent were occupants of other vehicles or were pedestrians/pedalcyclists.

The state of Ohio has also shown a decline in alcohol-related crash fatalities. It was recorded by the USDOT that the state of Ohio had 1,123 car crash fatalities in 2012. Of those fatalities, 385 (34.3%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

This is compared to the national fatalities in 2012 which stood at 33,561 fatalities with 10,322 (30.8%) of those fatalities involving alcohol.

While the national percent of alcohol-related fatalities rose by 0.2%, the state of Ohio saw a decrease of 7.3% between 2012 and 2013. It was recorded that 271 (27%) of the 989 crash fatalities involved alcohol in Ohio during 2013.

Studies have shown that most cases involve the drivers or passengers as the main victims. Statistics by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) show that over 90% of victims of alcohol-impaired driving were one of the drivers or passengers.

Eight percent of victims in that statistic were pedestrians. The remaining two percent involved bicyclists, other types of victims, or unknown victims.

Alcohol-related crash fatalities are shown to have a significant presence during holidays. The presence is especially present on New Year’s Day, where over fifty-three percent on crashes involve an alcohol-related crash fatality. (OVC/graphic)

Other statistics by the OVC show that alcohol-impaired driving has a significant presence in holiday traffic. Fifty-three percent of crash fatalities during New Year’s Day in 2014 involved alcohol.

This was the highest recorded percentage while Christmas had the lowest percentage at thirty-four.

The total number of fatalities caused by car crashes were on a growing slope until 2005. Alcohol-related crashes were fluctuating until about 2007 when a relatively big dip occurred. (OVC/graphic)

The numbers of car crash fatalities were on a rising slope before the decline in 2005. The numbers rose from about 24,900 to about 27,400 between 1994 and 2004, according to the NHTSA.

The NHTSA reported that an estimated 250,000 individuals were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the past decade. This is despite the 25% decline in motor-vehicle fatalities between 1994 and 2014 also recorded by the NHTSA. The amount of fatalities continues to be significant while the statistics are on a downward slope.

It was also found by the NHTSA that a total of 1,070 children 14 years old or younger were killed in motor-vehicle crashes in 2014. Two-hundred and nine, or nineteen percent, of those children were killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.

Of those 209 deaths, 116 (56%) were occupants of the vehicle being driven by an individual under that influence of alcohol. Sixty-one, or twenty-nine percent, of children were in other vehicles involved in the crash. Thirty children were not occupants of the vehicles but rather pedestrians or cyclists.

While alcohol-related fatalities have been declining in recent years, that amount of fatalities is still a significant number. Thousands are affected every year by alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.

There is a chance we may see the numbers drop below the thousands. This will make the significant numbers seem only trivial.

Austin Gammell

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Writer for GameDay, a news source devoted to providing updates in the video game community. Multimedia Journalism Major. Writing about what interests us both.