Since the 1980’s, the NHTSA and private nonprofits such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have waged an ongoing public safety campaign to reduce drunk driving rates nationwide. It was an ambitious goal that has faced its fair share of challenges over the years, but new federal data suggests that national drunk driving rates have fallen to their lowest point in more than a decade.
The data was drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2014—the most recent year for which federal data is available. The survey, which has been administered every year since 2002, found that drunk driving rates among drivers ages 21 to 25 have fallen by more than 10 percentage points over the course of 12 years. Among younger drivers ages 16 to 20, drunk driving rates were cut in half. Young driver demographics saw the most significant declines in drunk driving rates. Drunk driving rates among drivers 26 and older, meanwhile, fell by less than three percentage points.
Safety experts are quick to point out that while these metrics are certainly encouraging, there’s still plenty of work to be done. Drunk driving fatalities still claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year. In 2015, more than 10,000 people were killed in car accidents that involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Furthermore, drugged driving rates have not fallen meaningfully in recent years.
That said, it appears that things like ignition interlock devices and driver safety education campaigns really have made a serious dent in America’s drunk driving figures. Some safety experts think ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft have the potential to further decrease drunk driving rates as well. In the future, as self-driving vehicles become the norm, drunk driving may even become a thing of the past.
If you’ve been falsely accused of drunk driving, you need the best legal counsel you can get. At the Law Office of Jim Medley, we’ve spent more than 20 years helping thousands of people to successfully fight false drunk driving charges in the Houston area. Contact us to get your free case evaluation today.