We’ve all heard the stories of drunk drivers who create a huge wreck, kill innocent people in other cars and then walk away. It seems like every story one hears ends this way. However, in an August 22nd announcement regarding its newest program called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, NHTSA busts an urban myth regarding just how often drinks kill themselves versus others while driving.
The National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Thursday that in about a two to one ratio, the drunks themselves are the ones that end up dead in the mayhem they cause. About a third of all fatal accidents in the US each year on the road are caused by drunk drivers, a statistic that has not changed in decades. Of the approximately 32,000 Americans that lose their lives due to some involvement with a motor vehicle, about 11,000 of the deaths are caused, or are in part caused by, a person under the influence of alcohol. With recent stricter drunk driving laws being opposed by even Mother Against Drunk Driving, that is not likely to change any time soon.
In its summary of the new program NHTSA revealed that 6,507 of the people killed by drunks were the drunks themselves. It went on to say that 3,371 people were killed by them. Of that group, 1,612 were in the car driven by the drunk driver. All together the number of Americans in another vehicle that were killed by drunks was 1,049. The remaining 710 people were pedestrians or on a bicycle.
Apparently the old saying “Heaven protects children, sailors and drunken men” does not apply well to those men choose to drive drunk. One other sobering statistic that NHTSA is pointing out in its new program is that every three hours drunk driving claims a victim who was not driving drunk.