Impaired Driving: How Big Is the Problem?


One must understand the importance of safety while driving. Safety is an essential factor to look out for in ones’ daily life. Drivers should never forget the fact that their safety and the well-being of other road users is in their hands. Road accidents are majorly caused by drivers impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Impaired driving is the act of driving under the influence of liquor or other substances. It is extremely dangerous and has been the cause of most car crashes on the roadside.


As far back as 2016, about 10,467 people died due to the problem of impaired driving. Over 20% of these deaths were traffic-related, and many caused by the use of drugs like marijuana. As a matter of fact, over 10% of people on roads at night, have marijuana in their systems, and there’s always a 25% probability of an accident happening when the driver has marijuana in his/her system. These facts are genuinely alarming.

Due to these problems, it is logical to have laws in place to curb them. Under the sections of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. A driver who commits DUI offenses is charged with penalties in court. Drivers who commit these offenses also have their driver’s license suspended. It is very important to understand the gravity of this problem, and it is also equally vital to know its risk factors.


This issue of impaired driving has several risk factors, most notably for car drivers, motorcyclists, and young people. For the young ones, the tendency of being involved in an accident when there is a high level of alcohol in the individual’s system is high. As of 2016, 27% of young ones between 25 to 34 years were involved in fatal accidents due to about 0.08% of BAC. 26% of them were between the ages of 21 to 24, and 22% were between the ages of 35 to 44. This shows how risky this is for young people.

The risk factors are also high for motorcyclists. In 2016, 25% of motorcyclists in the United States died due to road accidents and were found to have BACs of 0.08% and above. Also, 38% of motorcyclists between the ages of 35-39 died in fatal crashes with BACs of 0.08% and above. This also evidently shows how much impaired driving affects motorcyclists.


Fortunately, there are ways to cut down these rising figures. Below are some of the preventive measures that can be taken:

  • Use of sobriety checkpoints
  • Utilizing community-based approaches to reduce the use of alcohol
  • A drastic increase in the price of alcohol by tax increment

For individuals:

  • Avoid driving drunk or impaired – no alcohol, drugs in system while driving
  • Designate a non-drinking driver before drinking
  • If the individual has been drinking, he or she should uber/lyft and not drive themselves.


Individuals and the government must take quick steps to curb the problem of impaired driving. The increase in deaths due to impaired driving keeps breaking the charts. As a result of this increase, citizens should know the risk factors and methods of prevention. The preventive measures will reduce the risks of impaired driving and make the roads a safer place for everyone.