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Where Does Washington Rank Among Drunk Driving Deaths?

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Jan 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

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NHTSA Statistics of Drunk Driving
If you listen to MADD or other anti-alcohol groups, you might believe that drunk driving is an epidemic that is out of control in Washington. But do the statistics really bear that out?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its figures for 2013 regarding alcohol-related driving fatalities. Let's take a closer look to see how Washington fares against the rest of the country.

In 2013, Washington recorded 149 deaths in motor vehicle accidents involving drivers who were legally intoxicated, whatever that is.  We could diverge here and get into a discussion of definitions, but we won't.  NHTSA uses the term over .08, which legally is distinguished from "impaired." Anyway, That puts our state in the bottom of the middle quintile on the list of states in this category.

Washington is apparently 16% lower than the median figure among all states and the District of Columbia.

When looking at all 2013 traffic fatalities, 39% of the people who died in Washington in 2013 were involved in an alcohol-related crash. That's slightly above the national average of 36%. In addition, Washington matched the national average of 21% when it came to the percentage of all deadly accidents that involved a driver with a blood alcohol level of .15 or above.

Some other findings from the statistics:

  • A total of 10,076 people died in the U.S. in 2013 in an accident involving a "legally-intoxicated" driver, remember these terms are NHTSA's own and not the synonymous with every State.
  • That figure is 2.5% lower than the number for the previous year.
  • Of those 10,000+ deaths, 65% of the victims were drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, the age group which was most represented in drunk driving fatalities (33%) was the 21-24 category.

Based on these numbers and these definitions, Washington is near the middle of the pack when it comes to drunk driving fatalities in America. So while it's a tragedy whenever someone dies in an alcohol-related accident, it's not accurate to say that there's an epidemic of these events taking place in Washington.

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.

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