NHTSA: 3 in 10 Traffic Deaths in Washington Involved a Drunk Driver

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.

According to 2014 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk drivers caused or were involved in a staggering three out of every 10 traffic deaths in Washington. To be clear, an alcohol-related accident means the blood alcohol content (BAC) one or more involved drivers was .08 or higher.

What were the national statistics for 2014?

Thirty-one percent, or almost 10,000 of the 32,675 total traffic fatalities in 2014, involved a driver with a BAC of at least .08, according to the NHTSA. The risk was almost four times higher at night than during daylight hours, and highest among motorcyclists as well as 21-24 year olds.

Sadly, 17 percent of drunk driving fatalities involved an underage driver, while drivers between 21 and 35 accounted for 59 percent of the national alcohol-related fatalities. According to the NHTSA, a drunk driver was 4.5 times more likely to be a male than a female.

How do Washington State statistics compare?

As stated above, Washington State's record of alcohol-related traffic deaths was almost equal to 2014’s national average. But, Washington State’s fatality percentage involving completely sober drivers was also close to the national average of 64 percent. Of the total 462 fatal accidents, 292 or 63 percent involved a BAC of .00.

Even though 63 percent of Washington drivers made the responsible choice to not drink and drive, a frightening 19 percent of fatalities involved drivers whose BAC equaled or exceeded .15, almost twice the legal limit.

How does Washington State compare with other states?

Washington's percentage for traffic fatalities with no alcohol involved is similar to about 60 percent of the 50 states. The results for other states ranged from a low of 51 percent in North Dakota to a high of 76 percent in Utah.

For levels between .01 and .07, the national statistics range from one percent in Rhode Island to 12 and 13 percent in Vermont and Puerto Rico, respectively.

Washington’s percentage of drivers with a BAC was closer to the national low at 14 percent in Vermont. It was 11 percent lower than both Rhode Island’s and Montana’s 30 percent.

Drunk driving can lead to devastating accidents, serious or fatal injuries, and massive medical costs. If you or someone you love sustained severe injuries or died in an accident caused by a drunk driver, be sure to speak with a car accident lawyer for advice and counsel.

Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-242-5595.

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