Did you know that impaired driving plays a role in 90% of all car accidents? Understanding the most common types of impairments can help us be safer on the road. In this article, we delve into the top five causes of impaired driving.
1. Distracted Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of nine people are killed every day in the U.S. due to distracted driving. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 3,142 fatalities from distracted driving in 2019 alone.
2. Alcohol-Induced Impairment
Alcohol impairment remains a persistent issue on the roads. According to the NHTSA, 10,142 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2019. A driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over 0.10 is seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared to sober drivers. This form of impairment often leads to reckless behavior, including speeding and ignoring traffic signals.
3. Drug-Induced Impairment
Beyond alcohol, the usage of other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, can severely impair driving abilities. Studies have found that drivers under the influence of marijuana are up to two times more likely to be responsible for a fatal collision. The effects of drug impairment can range from aggressive behavior and hallucinations to physical ailments like tremors and nausea.
4. Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions pose significant risks for drivers. For instance, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and severe vision disorders like macular degeneration can lead to DMV-imposed driving restrictions or even license suspensions. While exact statistics on accidents caused by medical conditions are hard to pinpoint, the potential risk they pose is significant and warrants attention.
5. Fatigue and Drowsiness
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 18 hours of sustained wakefulness can impair driving abilities similarly to having a BAC level of 0.05. Furthermore, after 24 consecutive hours of being awake, the impact is equivalent to driving with a BAC level of 0.10. Fatigue-induced impairments can manifest in reduced reaction time and compromised decision-making.