New Year's Eve is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year in America. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving under the influence (DUI) is responsible for thousands of death every year.
This holiday season, don't let your party end in tragedy. If you're drinking, don't get behind the wheel. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver, or take a cab, Uber, or Lyft. But if you get caught driving drunk, know that you're not alone. Thousands of people are arrested for DUI on New Year's Eve.
So, you need to understand what you're up against and what to expect if you are arrested.
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What is DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” It can apply to either drugs or alcohol, but most often refers to alcohol. Every state has laws against drunk driving, but the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) varies from state to state. In all states, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
There are many reasons why drunk driving continues to be a problem. One is that people continue to drink and drive even after knowing the risks. Another reason is that drunk driving is often seen as a victimless crime since the only person harmed is the driver themselves. However, this is not true – drunk driving can cause serious harm to other people, including innocent bystanders.
Drowsy driving, distracted driving, alcohol impairment, and drunk drivers are all dangers on the road, but during holiday seasons these dangers become amplified. With more people on the road and more parties to attend, there is an increased chance that someone will get behind the wheel after drinking.
Drunk driving is a serious problem that continues to harm people in the United States. If you are caught drunk driving, you can expect to face negative consequences. These can include a fine, jail time, and a loss of your driver’s license. In some states, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car, which prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath.
Penalties For New Year's DUI Arrests
The penalties for a New Year's DUI arrest vary from state to state, but they are generally more severe than the penalties for a regular DUI arrest. This is because drunk driving is considered a particularly dangerous crime, and prosecutors want to send a message that it will not be tolerated.
In most states, a first-time DUI offender can expect to face fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. In some states, a first-time offender may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their car. This is a device that prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver's breath.
A second DUI offense is usually punished more severely, with longer license suspensions, higher fines, and mandatory jail time. A third DUI offense is usually considered a felony and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics in 2021
Despite campaigns to prevent drunk driving, the statistics show that it is still a problem in the United States. In 2021, drunk driving fatalities increased by 5% from the previous year. This is despite the fact that there are fewer drivers on the road due to the pandemic.
The states with the most New Year's DUI arrests were California (274), Florida (190), and Texas (114). However, when you compare the number of arrests to the population of each state, it's clear that some states have a much bigger problem with drunk driving than others.
For example, California's New Year's DUI arrest rate was 0.01%, while Alaska's was 0.04%. That means that for every 100,000 people in California, there were just 10 drunk driving arrests on New Year's Eve. But in Alaska, there were 40 arrests for every 100,000 people.
When you compare the New Year's DUI arrest rates of different states, it's clear that some have a much bigger problem with drunk driving than others. Here are the top 10 states with the highest New Year's DUI arrest rates:
Alaska - 0.04%
Wyoming - 0.03%
South Dakota - 0.03%
North Dakota - 0.03%
Nebraska - 0.02%
Montana - 0.02%
Idaho - 0.02%
Arizona - 0.02%
Utah - 0.02%
Colorado - 0.02%
As you can see, states in the western and midwestern United States have the highest New Year's DUI arrest rates. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including the higher rates of alcohol consumption in these states and the fact that many people drive long distances to get to their New Year's celebrations.
2019 Drunk Driving Statistics
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 10,497 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2019 alone. This is a 1% increase from 2018, and a 4% increase from 2015.
In the United States, it is estimated that a drunk driver crashes every 90 seconds. More than one million drivers were arrested in 2019 for drunk driving incidents.
The estimated cost of alcohol-related crashes is $37 billion per year. Drunk driving deaths accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2019. Of the 10,497 people killed in drunk driving crashes in 2019, 67% were drivers, 27% were passengers, and 6% were pedestrians. Of the drivers killed in drunk driving crashes in 2019, 52% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
In 2019, drunk driving crashes resulted in the deaths of 1,837 children. Of these, 1,172 were occupants of vehicles with intoxicated drivers, and 398 were pedestrians or cyclists who were hit by impaired drivers.
The states with the most drunk driving fatalities were California (1,120), Texas (996), Florida (825), and North Carolina (511).
Drunk Driving Statistics 2020
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2020, approximately 1 person was killed every 45 minutes as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. In total, 11,654 people were killed in these fatal crashes. Out of all the motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2020, 30 percent were due to alcohol-impaired driving. These fatality rates are truly shocking, and they remind us of just how dangerous drunk driving really is.
Despite the well-known dangers of drunk driving, far too many people still get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly one in five drivers (18%) admit to doing this in the past year.
What's even more concerning is that these numbers may be even higher than what's being reported. According to the NHTSA, only about one-third of all drunk driving fatalities are actually reported as such on death certificates. This means that the true number of deaths caused by drunk driving accidents is likely even higher than what we know.
There are a number of reasons why people continue to drink and drive, despite knowing the risks. For some, it's simply a matter of convenience. They may not have a designated driver or they may not be able to get a cab or Uber. Others may not think they're drunk enough to get pulled over, or they may not think they'll get caught.
Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
The effects of alcohol on the body depend on a number of factors, including age, gender, weight, and how much food has been eaten. But one of the most important factors is blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood "Blood Alcohol Limit", and it can range from 0.0% (sober) to 0.40% and higher (legally intoxicated in most states). The effects of alcohol begin to be felt at around 0.02% BAC, and they become more pronounced as your BAC increases.
At lower blood alcohol levels, you may feel a sense of relaxation and euphoria. You may also notice a decrease in your inhibitions and an increase in your confidence. As your BAC continues to rise, you'll begin to feel more impaired. You may have trouble speaking clearly, you may be unsteady on your feet, and you may even lose consciousness.
At very high BAC levels, alcohol can be fatal.
Hire a DUI Defense Attorney!
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, it's important to get in touch with a DUI accident attorney as soon as possible. A DUI conviction can result in jail time, fines, and the loss of your driver's license, so it's not something to take lightly. An attorney at our DUI defense firm in Naperville will be able to review the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action. If you're facing DUI charges, don't hesitate to contact us at (630) 425-0250