Drunk driving is a serious problem around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks and reports statistics tied to impaired driving. Information from each state allows you to get a fast overview of how many people are driving under the influence (DUI) every year.
You can find drunk driving statistics for California from the CDC in this article. You can also go over reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The team at the Simmrin Law Group can also help you review actions taken by California to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents in the state.
Defining Drunk Driving in California
Before we dig deeper into the CDC’s statistics on drunk driving in California, it is important to establish exactly what we’re discussing. Drunk driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
In California, you can be charged with drunk driving if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the limits set by the state. This means that the drunk driving statistics used by the CDC will refer to California drivers with a BAC of over 0.08%.
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Basic CDC Reports on Drunk Driving in California
The CDC has been gathering information on drunk driving for many years. The organization provided a look at drunk driving over time by reporting statistics from 2003-2012. During this period of time, in the state of California, there were 10,327 deaths caused by drunk driving accidents.
California was below the national average for the rate of deaths caused by drunk driving during this period of time. However, 1.8% of drivers in California still self-reported as drinking too much before they operated a vehicle.
Additional Drunk Driving Statistics from the CDC
It is also interesting to note that, according to drunk driving state data provided by the CDC, male drivers were more than three times as likely to be involved in a drunk driving accident than female drivers in this period of time.
The CDC also breaks down involvement in fatal drunk driving accidents by age. Their reports list the following age groups as most to least likely to experience a DUI fatality:
- Drivers aged 21-34
- Drivers aged 35 and above
- Drivers aged under 20
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California Drunk Driving Statistics from the NHTSA
The NHTSA also records information about alcohol-impaired driving in California and other states around the country. According to a report released by the NHTSA in 2017, California had become the state with the second-highest number of drunk driving fatalities (1,120).
Let’s go over the breakdown of all fatal accidents in California in 2017 to demonstrate the severity of drunk driving accidents. There were 3,602 total of fatal accidents. Of these accidents:
- 2,275 – or 63% – included no alcohol usage
- 1,316 – or 37% – included a driver with a BAC of over 0.01%
- 1,120 – or 31% – included a driver with a BAC of over 0.08%
- 721 – or 20% – included a driver with a BAC of over 0.15%
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Legal Reactions to Drunk Driving in California
The court system in California recognizes the issues posed by drunk driving on the road. There are numerous charges used to prosecute drivers who operate their vehicles under the influence. Examples of these charges can include:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23136: Under 21 DUI with Any Measurable Amount of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI with Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving with A Blood Alcohol Content Of 0.08 Percent or Higher
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(c): Driving While Addicted
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(d): Driving a Commercial Vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.04 Percent or Higher
Drivers convicted of drunk driving in the state of California can face fines, jail time, and the suspension of their driver’s license. Additionally, as of 2019, many drivers will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle after a drunk driving conviction. An IID will measure the driver’s BAC before allowing their vehicle to turn on.
Get Help with Drunk Driving Charges in California
If you are accused of drunk driving in California, you deserve to be treated as more than a statistic. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you build a defense to these charges. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can go over your options now with a FREE consultation.
You can reach out to our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles by filling out our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.