Kentucky DUI fatalities Decrease by 59% Since 1982 – Kentucky DUI Statistics Include Non-drivers and Do Not Indicate if the Fatality was Caused by a Drunk Driver. – Kentucky leads the nation in ATV accident deaths.

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley    Sept. 22, 2009

Statistics released by the US Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  shown a marked decline in DUI related deaths since 1982 both nationally and in Kentucky.  In 2006 Kentucky had the 2nd.  lowest per cent of DUI fatalities in the nation.  (DUI fatalities vs. all traffic fatalities in state.)

Kentucky DUI statistics reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding DUI fatalities defines “alcohol related death” as any traffic incident in which any person involved, including non-drivers were impaired.

“It is important to note that the Kentucky drunk driving statistics, as shown (below), include data from individuals who were in an alcohol-related crash, but not driving a motor vehicle at the time.” – US Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This statistical method of reporting DUI traffic deaths by Kentucky means that the actual number of Kentucky traffic fatalities actually caused by a drunk driver are actually less than reported.

Kentucky statistics do not report the number of cases in which the drunk driver was the cause of the collision or wreck vs. instances in which the impaired person was only a passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist. The word “related” is used in the statistics. The investigating police officer makes the call if a collision was “alcohol related” and his accident report is the data from which the national statistics are compiled.  These accident reports are not allowed to be introduced into evidence in Kentucky due to their unreliability.

 It is possible that a driver who was impaired may have been driving properly and a “sober” driver or pedestrian caused the wreck or collision. Such incidents are classified as a “alcohol related fatality.” Even if the wreck or collision was caused by a non-drinking party.  Thus the reported DUI fatality statistics are skewed in favor of making the actual number of fatalities “caused by drunk drivers” appear higher.

The statistics, by including non-drivers, paint a false positive picture of the actual number of traffic fatalities caused by a drunk driver, and incorrectly imply to the public that all “alcohol related” reported fatalities were caused by a drunk driver.

ATV Fatalities

Kentucky leads the nation so far in 2009 in deaths caused by ATV’s (all terrain vehicles).  Through Sept. 17, 2009 there have been 14 ATV related deaths in Kentucky. None of the persons killed wore a helmet. 

There are 4 million people in Kentucky.  If each citizen averaged 3,000 miles of driving per year, that would indicate 12 billion miles of travel.   Divided by 200 DUI related traffic deaths that means that there is one DUI traffic related fatality per 60,000,000 miles driven.

 Assuming that there are 100,000 ATV’s in Kentucky and each driver travels 100 miles per year on their ATV, this means that there is one ATV fatality for every 714,000 miles driven.  This indicates that a person is 84 times more likely to be killed on an ATV than killed by a drunk driver.

 

YEAR

TOTAL TRAFFIC FATALITIES in KENTUCKY

DUI RELATED FATALITIES

%  OF DUI FATALITIES TO ALL TRAFFIC FATALITIES

1982

822

482

59

1983

778

435

56

1984

754

389

52

1985

712

343

48

1986

805

398

49

1987

844

407

48

1988

838

411

49

1989

772

341

44

1990

849

371

44

1991

826

380

46

1992

815

333

41

1993

871

338

39

1994

779

309

40

1995

849

302

36

1996

843

317

38

1997

857

301

35

1998

858

306

36

1999

813

300

37

2000

820

280

34

2001

845

251

30

2002

915

302

33

2003

928

276

30

2004

964

308

32

2005

985

313

32

2006

913

257

28

2007

864

212

25

2008

826

200

24

 Kentucky Drunk Driving Statistics

“In Kentucky, the total number of traffic fatalities actually increased since 1982, however, both the number and percentage of alcohol related deaths decreased. The highest year for both was 1982. In 2006, out of all traffic fatalities, 24% involved a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

All 50 states in the US now apply two statutory offenses to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The first (and original) offense is known either as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI), or operating while intoxicated/impaired (OWI). This is based upon a police officer’s observations (driving behavior, slurred speech, the results of a roadside sobriety test, etc.)

The second offense is called “illegal per se”, which is driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Since 2002 it has been illegal in all 50 states to drive with a BAC that is 0.08% or higher.

It is important to note that the Kentucky drunk driving statistics, as shown above, include data from individuals who were in an alcohol-related crash, but not driving a motor vehicle at the time. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines alcohol-related deaths as “fatalities that occur in crashes where at least one driver or non-occupant (pedestrian or bicyclist) involved in the crash has a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) value.”

The fatality rates shown above refer to the number of people killed in all traffic accidents and, separately, in alcohol related traffic accidents, per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Criminal status of DUI laws in Kentucky

In Kentucky, 1st offense is a class B misdemeanor, 2nd offense within 5 years is a class A misdemeanor, 3rd offense within 5 years with a BAC under .18 is a class A misdemeanor, 3rd offense with a BAC of .18 or higher is a class D felony; 4th and subsequent offenses are class D felonies. Citation:§§189A.010(5), 532.020 & 532.060 (2)

Sources for Kentucky drunk driving information and statistics US Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 12/02

National drunk driving statistics in the US

Alcohol related deaths in the US since 1982:

 

Total fatalities

Alcohol related fatalities

       

Year

Number

Number

Percent

1982

43,945

26,173

60

1983

42,589

24,635

58

1984

44,257

24,762

56

1985

43,825

23,167

53

1986

46,087

25,017

54

1987

46,390

24,094

52

1988

47,087

23,833

51

1989

45,582

22,424

49

1990

44,599

22,587

51

1991

41,508

20,159

49

1992

39,250

18,290

47

1993

40,150

17,908

45

1994

40,716

17,308

43

1995

41,817

17,732

42

1996

42,065

17,749

42

1997

42,013

16,711

40

1998

41,501

16,673

40

1999

41,717

16,572

40

2000

41,945

17,380

41

2001

42,196

17,400

41

2002

43,005

17,524

41

2003

42,643

17,013

40

2004

42,518

16,919

39

2005

43,443

16,885

39

2006

42,532

15,829

37

2007

41,059

15,387

37

Drinking and driving fatalities by state in 2006 (ranked by highest number of alcohol related deaths):

State

Total Fatalities

Alcohol-Related Fatalities

Number

Percent

Texas 

3,466

1,544

45%

California 

4,229

1,509

36%

Florida 

3,363

1,111

33%

Pennsylvania 

1,517

556

37%

Illinois 

1,254

540

43%

Georgia 

1,688

539

32%

Arizona 

1,280

502

39%

North Carolina 

1,558

490

31%

New York 

1,454

483

33%

Tennessee 

1,286

478

37%

South Carolina 

1,037

477

46%

Missouri 

1,087

469

43%

Ohio 

1,235

451

37%

Alabama 

1,206

445

37%

Louisiana 

982

425

43%

Michigan 

1,081

390

36%

Mississippi 

911

358

39%

Wisconsin 

722

352

49%

Virginia 

961

347

36%

Indiana 

896

290

32%

New Jersey 

771

285

37%

Washington 

630

269

43%

Kentucky 

913

257

28%

Arkansas 

665

245

37%

Oklahoma 

765

243

32%

Maryland 

651

235

36%

Colorado 

533

207

39%

Oregon 

477

177

37%

Minnesota 

493

175

36%

Nevada 

432

168

39%

Kansas 

466

162

35%

Massachusetts 

422

159

38%

New Mexico 

484

155

32%

West Virginia 

408

155

38%

Iowa 

439

142

32%

Connecticut 

301

121

40%

Montana 

255

114

45%

Idaho 

267

102

38%

Nebraska 

266

86

32%

South Dakota 

191

78

41%

Wyoming 

195

78

40%

Hawaii 

160

77

48%

Maine 

188

70

37%

Utah 

284

63

22%

New Hampshire 

127

51

40%

Delaware 

148

50

34%

North Dakota 

111

47

42%

Rhode Island 

81

37

46%

Vermont 

86

28

33%

Alaska 

73

23

31%

Dist of Columbia

37

14

36%

       
National

42,532

15,829

37%

Puerto Rico

507

176

35%

 The number of traffic fatalities in 2008 reached its lowest level since 1961. There was a 9.7-percent decline in the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, from 41,259 in 2007 to 37,261, according to NHTSA’s 2008 Fa-tality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) (see Figure 1). This decline of 3,998 fatalities is the largest annual reduction in terms of both number and percentage since 1982. More than 90 percent of this reduction was in passenger vehicles, which make up over 90 percent of the fleet of registered vehicles. Passenger car occupant fatalities declined for the sixth con-secutive year, and are at their lowest level since NHTSA be-

gan collecting fatality crash data in 1975. Light-truck occu-pant fatalities dropped for the third consecutive year, and are at their lowest level since 1998. However, motorcyclist fatalities continued their 11-year increase, reaching 5,290 in 2008, accounting for 14 percent of the total fatalities. Data from previous years has shown that while motorcycle registrations have increased, the increase in motorcyclist fatalities has increased more steeply. The data shows a decrease in fatalities for all person types except motorcyclists and pedalcyclists.

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