How Many Car Accidents Are Caused by Drug or Alcohol Use?

February 15, 2023
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You After a Severe Collision.

Every state has made it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet, driving while under the influence remains a primary cause of car accidents across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drunk driving fatalities account for 31 percent of all fatal car accidents in the United States. A person is killed by a drunk driver every 51 minutes.

According to the NHTSA, drugs or alcohol contributed to more than half of all fatal accidents from 2019 through 2021. Nearly 56 percent of people who died tested positive for drugs or alcohol. About 20 percent tested positive for two or more categories of alcohol, drugs, or both.

The fatalities included passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Researchers found the following in the systems of the participants:

  • Cannabinoids: 25.1 percent.
  • Alcohol: 23.1 percent.
  • Stimulants: 10.8 percent.
  • Opioids: 9.3 percent.

Others also tested positive for antidepressants, sedatives, and other commonly used drugs.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Ability to Drive Safely?

Its widespread availability makes alcohol a significant factor in car accidents, especially fatal collisions. While it is legal to have a small amount of alcohol in their system, just a small amount can significantly affect driving ability.

According to the NHTSA, alcohol affects drivers in the following ways:

  • Impacts a driver’s attention.
  • Affects coordination, steering, and the ability to respond.
  • Affects muscle coordination, concentration, and the ability to process information.
  • Deteriorates reaction time, slurs speech, and causes erratic driving.
  • Affects muscle control and impacts the ability to drive a vehicle.

Consuming any amount of alcohol can affect the ability to safely drive. If you plan to imbibe, make sure you plan ahead of time. You should arrange for a sober ride home.

If you are injured in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal options. Speak with a car accident lawyer after a drunk driving car accident.

Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You After a Severe Collision

You can meet with one of our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. if you have been injured in a collision. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. We are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we proudly represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.