Auto accidents kill and injure many people every year in Oklahoma. One of the most worrying contributors to serious collisions is drunk driving. It is well-known that drinking and driving is dangerous; major public awareness campaigns and tough legislation has drawn widespread attention to the problem. Still, around one person is killed every 52 minutes across the country as a result of auto accidents caused by alcohol consumption. Every year, over 10,000 people are killed because of drunk driving, representing a significant portion of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
The dangers of drunk driving
In Oklahoma, drivers are considered legally impaired when their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or greater. Of course, being drunk affects judgment and perception, two skills that are essential for safe driving. Even drivers who do not visibly appear to be drunk can suffer from extended reaction times, an inability to correctly perceive other vehicles and roadway obstacles, or incorrect judgment of their speed of travel. As a result, serious car accidents that lead to severe and often fatal injuries are all too frequently an outcome of drunk driving.
Who is affected by drunk driving?
Drunk drivers are dangerous not only to others on the road but also to themselves and their passengers. Young people are more likely to be involved in fatal or otherwise serious car crashes while drunk, with people between the ages of 21 and 34 sharing the highest rates. Men are four times more likely than women to be involved in a drunk driving collision and are over 80% of the fatalities in crashes linked to alcohol.
While public awareness campaigns, the minimum drinking age and severe penalties for convicted drunk drivers have reduced the number of drunk driving crashes in recent decades, the toll taken by drivers under the influence continues to extract a high cost. Preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel can save lives and prevent severe injuries and long-term disabilities.