The total number of crashes seems to be decreasing in Oklahoma — from 206 crashes per day in 2007 to 195 in 2009 to 189 crashes per day in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are currently available. Unfortunately, the total number of alcohol-related motor vehicle accident fatalities seems to be trending in the opposite direction.
- In 2007, there were 229 crash fatalities linked to alcohol use
- In 2009, there were 209 alcohol-related crash fatalities
- In 2010, that number jumped back up to 245
- In 2011, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 244 alcohol-related crash fatalities from 220 total alcohol-related crashes
Just how big a problem is drunk driving in Oklahoma? According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That is barely more than one percent of self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults. In Oklahoma, about 19,000 people are arrested each year for drunk driving. If you figure that the average arrest rate in Oklahoma is roughly equivalent to the national rate of arrest for alcohol-impaired driving, that means there are roughly 1,900,000 episodes of alcohol-impaired driving in Oklahoma each year.
Even a tiny amount of alcohol can begin to impair your driving abilities. At a blood alcohol content (BAC) of just 0.02 percent, you begin to experience some loss of judgment, increased relaxation (pleasant while at a party but not helpful while driving), and altered mood, resulting in a decline in visual functions and a decreased ability to perform two tasks at the same time. At a BAC of 0.05 percent, still less than the legal limit, psychomotor performance is impaired, eye movements slow, and visual perception, reaction time, and information processing are all adversely affected. Your coordination decreases, your ability to track objects suffers and you begin to have difficulty steering and responding to emergency driving situations. It seems there is truly no “safe” amount of alcohol you can drink before becoming a more dangerous driver.
Each year, drunk driving in Oklahoma results in nearly 250 deaths and well over 3,000 injuries. If you or a loved one suffered injury as the result of someone else’s drunk driving, you should contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer with experience helping car accident victims get the compensation you deserve.