I wrote earlier this week to highlight that, despite some organization's concerns to the contrary, Washington is not facing a DUI epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) new findings not only highlight this fact. It also provides some interesting statistics that should affect how we view driving under the influence.
The first stats to note are, nationwide, the increased frequency of fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers on nights and weekends. The rate of alcohol use among drivers was nearly four times higher at night than during the day. It was also twice as high on weekends than during the week. The highest rates are on weekend nights.
The second collection of statistics to note is the relative youth of those alcohol involved drivers in fatal accidents. One third of drivers aged 21-24 involved in a fatal crash were alcohol involved. Nearly 30% of those 25-34 were impaired. As drivers grow older, these rates continue to drop.
By gender, about one out of four male drivers in a fatal accident had alcohol involved. For females, this rate drops to about one in six.
Perhaps most interesting, considering that there is a trend in being more punitive towards repeat DUI offenders, are the statistics regarding repeat DUI offenders. Those alcohol involved drivers in fatal accidents, regardless of their level of intoxication, were more likely to have previously been in an accident, previously been convicted for speeding, or previously had their license suspended or revoked than to have had a previous DUI conviction.
The stats also show that fatal crashes are more likely to occur when one of the drivers is well over the legal limit. About 56% of drivers involved impaired drivers involved in a fatal accident had a BAC at or above .15. The most common BAC for an alcohol involved driver in a fatal crash was .17.
The most traffic-accident fatalities, and the most that involved alcohol involved drivers, occurred in Texas, our nation's second-most populous state after California. What is amazing about these statistics is that California is about 40% bigger than Texas by population, but alcohol involved Texans managed to have 50% more fatal accidents than Californians. Perhaps even the drinks, or maybe just the traffic accidents, are bigger in Texas too.
Regardless of the details, the NHTSA report shows that DUI offenders come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Regardless of who the offender is, the severity of the charges they face requires an experienced DUI defense attorney to protect his or her rights.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in and around Seattle in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties, you also deserve to have your rights protected. Attorney Kevin Trombold has decades of experience defending those accused of driving under the influence. If you have been charged, or even accused, of do not hesitate to contact him for a free consultation. 206-971-0067.