Drunk drivers pose a risk to the people who are on the roads at the same time as them. The risk is one that is unnecessary and preventable. That is what makes the death rate associated with drunk driving crashes so troubling. Each one of these deaths could have been prevented if a drunk driver would have stayed out from behind the wheel.
From 2003 through 2012, there were 2,205 people who were killed in drunk driving accidents in Oklahoma. That only shows part of the story. The death rate shows an even more shocking point. This rate is based on deaths from drunk driving accidents per 100,000 people in the population.
In the United States, the death rate overall is 3.3 people. Oklahoma's is much higher at 5.6. When it comes to specific age groups, people who are 21 to 34 years old have the highest death rate nationally and for our state. Nationally, the death rate for that age group is 6.7. For Oklahoma, the death rate for that group is 10.5.
Men are more likely to die in a drunk driving accident. Nationally, the death rate for men is 5.2. It is 9.3 for Oklahoma. For women, it is 1.9 in Oklahoma and 1.5 nationally.
When you think about that the fact that around one out of every three crashes in this country involve a drunk driver, you can see how big the problem is in Oklahoma. For the families devastated by drunk drivers, knowing that there is a huge problem is of little comfort. Those family members might decide to stand up to the drunk driver by seeking compensation for their loved one's death.
Source: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in Oklahoma," accessed Aug. 25, 2016