You refuse to ever drive drunk. You plan ahead. You get a designated driver, call a cab or use ride-sharing apps. If you start drinking at home, you stay home. If you drink at a friend's house and cannot get home, you stay the night.
However, you know that other people do not hold themselves to such a strict code of conduct. You have watched people leave those parties, clearly too drunk to drive. You have seen stories of drunk wrong-way drivers on the interstate. You know the risks you face, even when you remain sober.
To fully grasp that risk, here are some of the more frightening statistics about the drunk driving epidemic:
- 66 percent of drivers will get involved in drunk driving accidents at some point in their lives. That's two out of every three people. It is important to note that many of those people will not be drunk themselves, but they will get hit by people who are.
- Statistics from 2014 showed that 34 percent of deadly crashes involved drunk driving after dark. Only 9 percent of fatal accidents involved drunk driving during the day. If you take to the roads at night, sober or not, you are putting yourself at risk.
- Many people believe myths about getting sober, thinking they can do it faster by taking cold showers, working out or drinking a cup of coffee. None of it works. Only time lets the alcohol leave your system. Many drivers who use these other methods then think it is safe to drive when it is not.
- Roughly 33 percent of all people who get convicted on DUI charges or arrested on suspicion of drunk driving already have a record. They're repeat offenders. It is clear that, for many people, even paying fines and spending time in jail does not stop this dangerous behavior.
- About 3,200 people get arrested for drunk driving every single day in the United States. If you think that sounds like a lot, experts believe that around 300,000 people drive drunk daily, so the vast majority do not get caught.
- Not all drunk driving accidents turn fatal, and injuries are very common. Someone gets hurt in such a wreck every two minutes.
- Those between 21 years old and 24 years old drive drunk more than any other age group, making up 30 percent of the drivers in deadly accidents. Those between 25 and 34 are next, at 29 percent, while a total of 24 percent of these drunk drivers are between 35 years old and 44 years old.
As you can see, the risk you face is incredible. In a second, you could suffer serious injuries or watch as a loved one passes away. You must recognize the risk, do what you can to minimize it and know what to do after an accident.