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Insurer Says Impaired-driving Remains Primary Cause of Highway Fatalities

| December 31, 2018

Impaired-driving is a serious issue that has not gone away — and with phones, watches and a growing number of other digital devices vying for drivers’ attention, it is no surprise that the danger of distracted driving has taken center stage in recent years.

In fact, drivers and motorcyclists under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication were involved in 5,592 fatal crashes in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). By comparison, 3,210 fatal crashes involved distracted drivers

Here are some other recent facts about impaired-driving:

  • The FBI estimates 1,017,808 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2016, the last year for which there are complete statistics.
  • Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16 percent of motor vehicle crashes, according to the NHTSA.
  • Alcohol use is a major factor in motorcycle crashes, and alcohol-impaired motorcycle riders are less likely to use helmets, per the Insurance Information Institute.
  • According to the National Safety Council, highway deaths related to impaired-driving increase during holiday periods, including New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving.
  • The first four states with legalized recreational marijuana use saw as much as a 6 percent increase in vehicle crashes compared with neighboring states without such laws, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute.

One top insurer, GEICO, has publicly urged drivers and motorcyclists at this time of year to never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The company notes that there are plenty of other options available. For example, consider taking a rideshare or taxi, using public transportation or assigning a sober designated driver to get you home safely.

Category: General Update, News, Safety

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