Drunk-Driving Deaths Linked to Excessive Blood Alcohol Level

New drunk-driving crash statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the blood alcohol content (BAC) in 70 percent of drunk-driving fatalities in 2010 was 0.15 or higher.

The latest finding was released as NHTSA and other safety advocates prepare to kick off a “Get Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign later this week. The campaign runs through Labor Day weekend and involves more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies across the U.S. that will be “redoubling their efforts” to enforce laws against driving under the influence.

With more than 10,200 alcohol-related fatalities on the road in 2010, almost 1 out of every 3 highway fatalities that year was related to alcohol. The most frequently recorded BAC level in drunk-driving deaths was 0.18.

“The latest numbers tell us people are not only making poor decisions and drinking and driving—they are getting deeply intoxicated before getting behind the wheel,” NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland said in statement.

Insurance Implications of Drunk Driving

DUI convictions almost always hike insurance rates and, in some cases, insurers can refuse to issue them coverage. In those cases, motorists are forced to get high-risk auto insurance, which charges an exorbitant amount to cover the heightened risk.

DUI penalties vary across the U.S., but most will impose hefty fines, incarceration or suspension of a driver’s license.

An OnlineAutoInsurance.com analysis looked into the price hikes that come with a DUI for a sample profile of a driver living in Los Angeles.

The sample profile was a male driving a 2011 Honda Accord covered by a 50/100/50 policy with collision, comprehensive and medical payments coverage. Premium data from between 8 and 11 insurers were used for each scenario, depending on how many were willing to offer coverage.

They found that a DUI could inflate the price of the 20-year-old’s policy by as much as 76 percent and as low as 25 percent–bringing with it an extra $1,700 a year in annual premiums. The average price hike was a 55 percent increase. The average increase would amount to about $1,169 more for the 20-year-old, according to the analysis.

The analysis also surveyed a 25-year-old motorist with the same characteristics, finding that the average policy cost would increase 65 percent with a DUI conviction. That conviction could inflate the cost of insurance as high as 97 percent and as low as 26 percent, with an average increase amounting to about $805.

Those percentages were almost exactly the same for 30- and 35-year-olds with identical driving characteristics. The 30-year-old faces an average increase of about $693 from a DUI, while a 35-year-old would find an average increase of $702.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article