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Old 02-23-07, 07:11 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Impaired Drivers: how many are behind the wheel?

Does anyone know of statistics or studies on this?

I'm wondering how common they are -- these drivers who are impaired in one way or another.

There must be some statistics on alcohol. There are probably statistics on other-substance-abuse drivers.

It would of course depend on time and local, etc. -- but it might still be valuable to see some kind of range, some kind of study....
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Old 02-23-07, 08:06 PM   #2
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around here they say 40% of all accidents have alcohol involved... its tough to say when you consider all the types of impairment there can be. Drunk drivers, tipsy drivers, drivers on other substances, drivers on prescription drugs, tired drivers, cell phone talkers, lunch eaters, makeup artists (i think i saw this on an Allstate commercial "are you in good hands?") people that are in a hurry for a reason, people that think its fun to drive like a maniac, people that just drive badly because they aren't good drivers.... all impaired in my opinion.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:41 PM   #3
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I've seen the 40% or 33% thing too, but after reading, It's No Accident, by Lisa Lewis I wonder how big it really is too.

A collsion with "alcohol involvement" can include a sober driver and pedestrian or cyclist who was drunk, or the driver could have had a drink but was below the legal impairment level. Further, the majority of "alcohol invovled" collisions involve a crash only involving the drinker because the majority of these happen in the wee hours of the day where fewer people are using the roads and the drunks only hurt themselves (or the bozos who choose to get in the car with them).

Drinking and driving is still terrible, but sometimes I think the numbers seem a bit high.

Lousy driving habits and falling asleep at the wheel affect collisions in a bigger way than most want to think about, so the largest part of danger gets ignored.

Last edited by closetbiker; 02-28-07 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:48 PM   #4
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If you consider incompetence (mental or physical) as impairment, based on my own non-scientific observations I'd have to put the number at an easy 50% or more total, with strictly drug/alcohol related impairment probably at 10%
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Old 02-28-07, 02:48 PM   #5
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How many impaired drivers are behind the wheel? All of them, I imagine.

I detest DWI lawyers. That's my only contribution to this thread that I can think of.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:53 PM   #6
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If you consider incompetence (mental or physical) as impairment, based on my own non-scientific observations I'd have to put the number at an easy 50% or more total, with strictly drug/alcohol related impairment probably at 10%
That's probably the first thing I learned on my own when I first started to drive cab. The majority of people should have their licences taken away from them because they drive like they're incompetent.

Sad thing is, each one of them had to have passed a drivers examination test with an inspector in the car with them. They can drive properly, they just choose not to.
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Old 02-28-07, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.
Does anyone know of statistics or studies on this?

I'm wondering how common they are -- these drivers who are impaired in one way or another.

There must be some statistics on alcohol. There are probably statistics on other-substance-abuse drivers.

It would of course depend on time and local, etc. -- but it might still be valuable to see some kind of range, some kind of study....
Looks like 39% for alcohol related traffic deaths, I think drowsy drivers were fairly high in 10-15% range if my memory serves me. Sounds like they want to lower the limit to .05% seems like we are heading for another prohibition on alcohol at this rate.

" Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2006).

Occurrence and Consequences

* During 2005, 16,885 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing 39% of all traffic-related deaths (NHTSA 2006).

* In 2005, nearly 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (Department of Justice 2005). That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (Quinlan et al. 2005).

* Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (Jones et al. 2003).

* More than half of the 414 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-related crashes during 2005 were riding with the drinking driver (NHTSA 2006).

* In 2005, 48 children age 14 years and younger who were killed as pedestrians or pedalcyclists were struck by impaired drivers (NHTSA 2006).

Cost

Each year, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion (Blincoe et al. 2002). "
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Old 02-28-07, 06:56 PM   #8
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define "alcohol-related" motor vehicle crashes
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Old 02-28-07, 09:01 PM   #9
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Some solid stats from Australia (though probably not very relavent to the US). Stats from traffic incidents that caused a cyclists death over a 4 year period.

"Of the 202 motor vehicle drivers involved in crashes in which a cyclist was
killed, 130 were tested for alcohol and in most cases (119) BAC was found to be
zero. Most were not tested for drugs but a few tested positive."
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Old 02-28-07, 09:05 PM   #10
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This is how DUI was explained to me: There is a BAC limit, but if you are involved in an accident and have any measurable level of alcohol in your blood, even if it is much less than the BAC limit, you can be declared to be legally impaired and you can receive a DUI.
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Old 02-28-07, 10:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
This is how DUI was explained to me: There is a BAC limit, but if you are involved in an accident and have any measurable level of alcohol in your blood, even if it is much less than the BAC limit, you can be declared to be legally impaired and you can receive a DUI.
Of course every state is a little different, but in MI the level at which you are deemed intoxicated is .08 and the charge would be Operating While Intoxicated. However, if you have a lower level than that and the Officer can articulate that your level of intoxication effected your driving the charge would be Operating While Impaired.
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Old 03-02-07, 03:08 PM   #12
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This is how DUI was explained to me: There is a BAC limit, but if you are involved in an accident and have any measurable level of alcohol in your blood, even if it is much less than the BAC limit, you can be declared to be legally impaired and you can receive a DUI.
I don't think that is true anywhere, as it would be impossible to prove that some minute amount of alcohol lead to impairment.

As for my guess, I would say that 30-40% is probably fair, based on alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs. The other 60-70% are either:
A) blind, or if not legally blind so sight impaired that they're dangerous
B) have some form of dementia
C) have too much testosterone
D) have too few brain cells
E) are distracted by cell phones, makeup, DVD players, kids, dogs, food, or what have you
F) have their head firmly planted in their rectum
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Old 03-02-07, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.
I'm wondering how common they are -- these drivers who are impaired in one way or another.
Given that over 60% of all Americans (actually United States) are on some sort of perscription drug now, I'm guessing that impairment number is going to be a LARGE one. Now tack on a Blackberry, and a few text messages, and you have a real problem.
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Old 03-02-07, 06:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
This is how DUI was explained to me: There is a BAC limit, but if you are involved in an accident and have any measurable level of alcohol in your blood, even if it is much less than the BAC limit, you can be declared to be legally impaired and you can receive a DUI.
I think it's true, but only for minors, for whom it is illegal to have any alcohol and drive.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:41 AM   #15
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Do this experiment the next Friday or Saturday night. Around closing time walk to your local bar, notice that the parking lot is FULL, count how many cars it contains. next count the number of cabs you see pull up to the bar and the number of pedestrians you see leave. I predict from my own observations and a misspent youth, that the second two numbers will be less than 10 percent of the first.

Why police don't just hang around outside of bars and arrest people as they drive off, I'll never never understand. and until they start doing this I can't take them seriously when they say drinking and driving is something they want to stop.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike2math
Do this experiment the next Friday or Saturday night. Around closing time walk to your local bar, notice that the parking lot is FULL, count how many cars it contains. next count the number of cabs you see pull up to the bar and the number of pedestrians you see leave. I predict from my own observations and a misspent youth, that the second two numbers will be less than 10 percent of the first.

Why police don't just hang around outside of bars and arrest people as they drive off, I'll never never understand. and until they start doing this I can't take them seriously when they say drinking and driving is something they want to stop.
I know one place, where the local cop, did just that. Waited until the bar let out, and as the drunks got in their cars, said to them, "Do you REALLY want to do do that?" to which there were two options, the driver had. Move the car 1mm and face a DUI, or get back out, and wait for a ride. Let's just say, that the local cabbie, made enough to retire that night
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Old 03-04-07, 09:04 AM   #17
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Interesting note. I don't have statistics, but I just took an alcohol server's class (required to serve alcohol in Oregon). In it, there is compelling evidence to suggest that every single person driving home from a bar is impaired and over the legal BAC of Oregon (0.08). It takes surprisingly little alcohol to raise the BAC above 0.08. Two drinks does it for women, about 3 drinks for men, and if they drink with food, it takes much more than an hour to process the alcohol in one drink.
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Old 03-04-07, 12:21 PM   #18
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I don't do much going out to bars to drink anymore nor do I own a car any longer, but I still carry these wherever I go. You never know when they will come in handy, even if it's for a friend. Perhaps cab companies in other communities have them.

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Old 03-04-07, 04:57 PM   #19
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Calgary has a dual problem - it's difficult (apparently, though i manage to fairly well) to get anywhere by bike or transit (due to infrequent service on many routes), AND there is a big shortage of taxis (the local job market is such that if you qualify to drive a cab - you can get a more lucrative job doing something else (deliveries, etc)). There are a few places where you can flag a cab, and some bars have deals with cab companies to have an occupied cab stand, but in many cases you might wait 20 -30 min for a cab or longer (I've been told to wait over an hour at rush hour - bike ride time ).

The upshot is that if they wanted to, the police could charge hundreds with impaired driving every night, and there wouldn't be much of a solution unless the bars themselves buy minivans to pick up and drop off patrons (might not be a bad idea!).
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Old 03-04-07, 09:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike2math
Do this experiment the next Friday or Saturday night. Around closing time walk to your local bar, notice that the parking lot is FULL, count how many cars it contains. next count the number of cabs you see pull up to the bar and the number of pedestrians you see leave. I predict from my own observations and a misspent youth, that the second two numbers will be less than 10 percent of the first.

Why police don't just hang around outside of bars and arrest people as they drive off, I'll never never understand. and until they start doing this I can't take them seriously when they say drinking and driving is something they want to stop.
Looks like several citites like fresno does exactly that although they changed tactics due to public pressure, I remember there was a fracas in texas last year because they were arresting people for public intoxication at bars. I would imagine 90-99% of the bar patrons would be drunk based on .08% BAC. I really like the idea, it forces people to have designated drivers or take a public transport and it increases revenue for the city so less property taxes.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:34 PM   #21
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Why police don't just hang around outside of bars and arrest people as they drive off, I'll never never understand. and until they start doing this I can't take them seriously when they say drinking and driving is something they want to stop.
This was always my argument for why DUI checkpoints are a waste of time and money. I've seen some disheartening stats from checkpoints (ex.-ten officers, one DUI, one or two warrants, and that's all folks for three of four hours of effort) versus just sending the same number of officers out to make one DUI arrest each.

Why don't they hang around? Sometimes they do, but while there may be DUI or traffic units, a lot of DUI enforcement is done by officers that have a beat to patrol and other calls to handle as well.

There's also the cynical response that if the cops pick on one bar, the bar is at risk of losing business, so the owner complains to his councilperson, they to the mayor, the mayor to the chief...and all of a sudden there are other priorities. The ultra-cynical view is that DUI provides some measure of job security (not just for police), and no one wants to break that rice bowl.

Reality is a mix of some of each of the above, with the proportion varying by locale.
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Old 03-08-07, 04:38 PM   #22
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Again---depends how you define "impaired." The new .08 thing is horesh!te. Thats like 2 beers after work. I detest "drunk" drivers, but most people I know, including myself, have probably driven @ or around .08.

I saw a statistic in WI a few weeks ago that after 2:00 65% of all drivers are drunk or something to that effect.

Now, how many bike ride their bikes when impaired????---To me this is a much safer option in the summer than driving to the bars.
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Old 03-08-07, 04:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajman
The upshot is that if they wanted to, the police could charge hundreds with impaired driving every night, and there wouldn't be much of a solution unless the bars themselves buy minivans to pick up and drop off patrons (might not be a bad idea!).
The bar near where I work has a large van that will both pick you up and take you home (within a reasonable radius I imagine). I've never used the service but it's a pretty cool idea especially for a suburban area (where I imagine most patrons are driving home).
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Old 03-09-07, 04:47 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geraldo
This was always my argument for why DUI checkpoints are a waste of time and money. I've seen some disheartening stats from checkpoints (ex.-ten officers, one DUI, one or two warrants, and that's all folks for three of four hours of effort) versus just sending the same number of officers out to make one DUI arrest each.

Why don't they hang around? Sometimes they do, but while there may be DUI or traffic units, a lot of DUI enforcement is done by officers that have a beat to patrol and other calls to handle as well.

There's also the cynical response that if the cops pick on one bar, the bar is at risk of losing business, so the owner complains to his councilperson, they to the mayor, the mayor to the chief...and all of a sudden there are other priorities. The ultra-cynical view is that DUI provides some measure of job security (not just for police), and no one wants to break that rice bowl.

Reality is a mix of some of each of the above, with the proportion varying by locale.
That is my impression exactly. DUI checkpoints are more an excuse to grab some people with warrants (not that this doesn't need to be acomplished, but why not just call them fugitive checkpoints?). If police were serious about stopping drunk drivers in Columbus, they would park themselves at the exit of the Southgate parking garage on the OSU campus and stop each car as it leaves having the driver blow. This garage provides parking for three new bars in the campus area. If they set it up this weekend (end of classes for the quarter) I bet they could grab a good 100 DU's and probably twice as many underage intoxicants.

Why won't they? Because the university adminstration and the business groups that own the three new bars would have a holy fit.
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Old 03-09-07, 08:23 AM   #25
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'Pends on the time of day (or night.) At some times, I'd wager it's pretty high.
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