- A new poll by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA reveals almost all Americans (98 per cent) think that having a designated driver who agrees to do the driving is important when planning to go out with friends when there will be drinking
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (involving a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or greater) accounted for 31 per cent of total motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2014, corresponding to 9,967 lives lost.
- Seventy per cent of respondents reported that they had been a designated driver, corresponding to an estimated 140 million Americans, aged 21 years or older.
A new Road Safety Monitor (RSM) poll conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA, Inc. (TIRF USA) and sponsored by Anheuser-Busch reveals that almost all Americans (98 per cent) think that having a designated driver who agrees to do the driving is important when planning to go out with friends when there will be drinking.
“Fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving have declined to approximately 10,000 in comparison to previous years, which recorded averages of 13,000 to 14,000 according to official statistics. When using a longer lookback period, drunk-driving fatalities have actually decreased 53 per cent since 1982,” said Tara Casanova Powell, Director of Research at TIRF USA.
“Although this drop reveals progress in reducing the problem, data from recent years suggest that these declines may have plateaued since 2010, which means that alcohol-impaired driving requires continued attention and action if further improvements are to be realized.”
Although a majority of Americans (78 per cent) said they were concerned about the issue of alcohol-impaired driving, eight per cent of respondents self-reported alcohol-impaired driving when they thought they were over the legal limit. When asked about reasons for engaging in this type of behavior, more than half of those respondents who indicated they had driven in these circumstances answered that they thought they were capable of driving at the time. In particular, 44 per cent of these respondents thought they were okay to drive and 12 per cent thought that they could drive very carefully when they thought they were over the legal limit.
Dr. Ward Vanlaar, Vice President Research of TIRF in Canada and a co-author of the study, said: “It is clear that while many people have gotten the message through education and enforcement, there are some drivers who believe they are less impaired, or better able to manage the effects of impairment, and do not realize they are unsafe to drive.”
Seventy per cent of Americans reported that they had been a designated driver, 45 per cent have used a designated driver and 28 per cent have used some other form of transportation such as a taxi or bus. Casanova Powell explains that in absolute numbers, this corresponds to an estimated 140 million drivers aged 21 years or older who have been a designated driver, 90 million who have used a designated driver, and 56 million who have used some other form of transportation.