The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Aug. 13 joined with safety advocates and law enforcement officials to announce the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk drivers.
With an average of one person dying every 51 minutes because of an alcohol-impaired driving crash, this year's announcement includes a special focus on both the personal and economic costs of drunk driving.
According to a 2014 NHTSA report, crashes caused by drunk drivers cost the nation $47 billion in direct economic impacts in 2010. The cost rose to $195 billion when taking into account the overall harm to society resulting from both loss of life and quality of life.
More than 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving crashes, and 35 percent of these fatalities are passengers, occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants.
In crashes caused by drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08, the average economic cost of a minor injury is approximately $22,000 with additional losses related to quality of life totaling more than $25,000. These costs increase based on the severity of the injury, with critical injuries resulting in economic costs of more than $1.1 million and lost quality of life valued at nearly $5 million.
More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country will support the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign beginning Aug. 15 and continuing through the Labor Day holiday weekend.