April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to spread the word about the risks associated with drinking and alcohol abuse. Since alcohol is legal and readily available, and drinking is a social activity for many people, it’s easy to overlook how harmful it is. However, alcohol is responsible for widespread illness and death, and may also lead to legal and financial problems.
Drunk driving is one of the most significant dangers associated with alcohol misuse – endangering not only the person who chose to get behind the wheel, but also any passengers they may have and anyone else who happens to be on the road.
Drunk Driving in New Mexico
Though the penalties for drunk driving in New Mexico include jail time, steep fines, a loss of driving privileges and mandatory participation in DWI educational programs, driving under the influence remains an ongoing problem in our state. According to a 2020 report from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, more than 5% of the total car accidents in New Mexico involved alcohol that year.
Nationwide Drunk Driving Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 28 people per day die in drunk-driving accidents. Even a small amount of alcohol can impact driving ability by causing a loss of coordination and a delayed reaction time. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 grams per deciliter.
Here are some additional statistics drivers and passengers need to know.
- About one-third of car crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers.
- The annual cost of alcohol-related car crashes is more than $44 billion.
- On average, over the decade between 2010 and 2019, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes.
Why Do People Drive Drunk?
Public education campaigns from activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and stricter laws should make everyone more aware of the dangers of driving drunk. So, why would any driver take that risk? Alcohol can severely impair judgment and make it impossible for someone to accurately estimate their driving abilities, with fatal consequences.
- After only one drink, people can lose the focus, motor skills and immediate reaction time necessary to safely operate a vehicle.
- Some drivers might also be ashamed or reluctant to admit they are not in full control and get behind the wheel to avoid embarrassment.
- People who have driven drunk before and managed to not get caught may begin to believe they have better-than-average driving skills that allow them to evade the police.
Unfortunately, factors like these can combine to create dangerous and sometimes deadly circumstances. Don’t risk your life or endanger other people by driving drunk. If your plans include drinking outside your home, have a designated driver, use a ridesharing service or make hotel reservations instead. If you drive under the influence, you could end up in jail, or worse – get involved in a car accident that causes severe injury or death.
Renew Your Life With Holistic Recovery
If you are dependent on alcohol and can’t quit drinking on your own, you’ll find hope and healing at Vista Taos. For 25 years, our family-owned rehab has offered a holistic approach to recovery that provides support for every aspect of your well-being. To learn more about recovering in New Mexico, please reach out to us today.