Pennsylvania drivers must navigate treacherous roads every time they get behind the wheel. Whether it is concerns centered on rapidly changing weather conditions or the threat of inexperienced drivers, city streets and highways alike can quickly become hazardous environments. Unfortunately, these dangers seem to magnify when drivers decide to attempt to reach their destination while under the influence of alcohol.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has released crash data centering on 2020 traffic information. Based on averages, there were 286 reportable traffic crashes each day of the year. Additionally, an average of three individuals were killed in traffic collisions each day. Unfortunately, many drivers are shocked to learn the numbers as they tie specifically to alcohol use. Of note:
- There were 293 fatalities reported in alcohol-related crashes. Drivers, passengers and pedestrians make up this total.
- Of these fatalities, occupants in the vehicle driven by the alcohol-impaired driver accounted for 89% of the deaths.
- Of all the reported alcohol-related crashes, 70% occurred during darkness hours. These crashes usually occurred on the weekends.
While the concept of impairment covers the full range from alcohol and drugs to prescription medication, this PennDOT data focused specifically on alcohol-related vehicle crashes. Alcohol impairment can lead to slower reaction times, blurred perception and cognitive challenges. Additionally, drunk drivers could potentially fall asleep at the wheel and drift into oncoming traffic or drive straight through an intersection.
Alcohol-related crashes can result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Vehicle occupants and pedestrians can suffer multiple fractures, head trauma, spinal cord damage and paralysis.