Drunk drivers are about to receive their annual crackdown from numerous law enforcement officials and safety advocates with the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
This year’s theme will dive deeper into the personal and economic costs of the actions of drunk drivers. New statistics in the 2014 NHTSA report indicate that alcohol-impaired accidents take the life of one individual every 51 minutes. In 2010, drunk drivers cost the United States a grand total of $47 billion in direct economic charges. If the report counts the impact to society and quality of life in the total, the amount would rise to $195 billion.
“Drunk driving is a deadly and preventable crime that destroys lives and costs the nation billions of dollars every year,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior.”
Each year, more than 10,000 lives are ended tragically short in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Sadly, passengers, occupants of other vehicle or even non-occupants make up 35 percent of these fatalities. While the NHTSA’s data shows how victims are affected financially, those affected also often suffer from a decrease in their overall quality of life.
According to the NHTSA’s statistics, each minor injury costs approximately $22,000 while additional losses, such as those related to quality of life, total more than $25,000. The severity of the injury determines the amount of costs related to the drunk driving accident. The most critical injuries result in economic costs of more than $1.1 million and a lost quality of life at about $5 million.
“The costs of drunk driving — in lives and economic harm — are far too high for anyone to ever get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “Do not make one of the last wonderful days of summer the final tragic day of your life – or someone else’s – by driving after drinking. Remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
The latest drunk driving campaign is happening during the Labor Day weekend and around the end of summertime. With more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies and police departments aiming for higher visibility during this time, NHTSA hopes to deter fatalities as well as garner support for their campaign.