Comparing the US With Other Countries On Drunk Driving Statistics
In the US, drunk driving is a serious issue. Every year, there are thousands of accidents that relate to drunk driving. But the US isn’t the only country with a problem. In other countries, drunk driving also is a common occurrence. Examining the drunk driving statistics can shed some light on the issue. Find out how the US ranks and why the rates of drunk driving vary so greatly.
Drunk Driving Statistics Across the World
When you talk about drunk driving worldwide, you have to talk about South Africa. Although many countries have troubles with drunk driving, no one has drunk driving statistics as scary as South Africa’s. A Global Status Report on Road Safety in 2015 shed some light on the issue.
In the report, the drunk driving statistics showed that South Africa had a major problem with drunk driving. In fact, the report declared it to be the worst for the incident. Drunk driving aside, South Africa is a dangerous place to be on the road. Frequently, it ranks as one of the worst countries for road accidents. While there are many reasons for those accidents, drunk driving is often the cause.
In fact, drunk driving is the cause of about 58% of road fatalities in South Africa. Every year, there are 25.1 car accident fatalities in the country. Of all those deaths, six out of ten are due to alcohol consumption. In South Africa, drinking and driving causes more accident fatalities than anything else.
You might wonder how the US compares to South Africa in terms of drunk driving statistics. Although the US has a much lower percentage of fatalities due to alcohol, it still ranks higher than most other countries. With 31% of fatalities involving alcohol, the US ranks third. Canada is the only other country with a higher percentage. In Canada, 34% of car fatalities relate to alcohol.
Several other countries have similar drunk driving statistics to the US. For example, Australia ranks fourth with 30% of car fatalities alcohol-involved. Then, France comes in fifth with 29%. In Italy, alcohol contributes to 25% of fatal car crashes.
Ranked below Italy is the United Kingdom. However, the UK has significantly lower statistics. In the UK, only 16% of fatalities involve alcohol. South Korea isn’t far behind, with 14%. In Germany and Russia, the rates are very low – at 9%.
What Makes Drinking and Driving a Problem?
You can’t argue that drunk driving isn’t a problem in the US. After all, it ranks third among other countries for alcohol-involved road deaths. There are a few reasons that could account for the United States’ high rate of drunk driving. Although these reasons apply to the US, they also apply to other countries with frequent occurrences of drunk driving:
The Way People View Drunk Driving
When people don’t view drunk driving as a bad thing, they won’t stop others from doing it. They allow friends and family members to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after they have a few drinks. As a result, they contribute to the problem.
In many of the countries with low drunk driving rates, drinking and driving is not acceptable behavior. If someone witnesses you trying to drive drunk, then they will take your keys away. There’s also less peer pressure to drive home drunk. In countries like the US, some individuals fear what others will think of them if they don’t drive after a few drinks. They don’t want to seem uncool or uptight. To make drunk driving less of a problem, it’s necessary to change the way people look at the issue.
The Laws Aren’t Strict Enough
While you might think that the US has strict laws regarding drinking and driving, that’s not necessarily true. There are other countries that have stricter laws regarding drunk driving. For example, some countries have zero-tolerance policies. If you even have one drink, you can’t drive without risking a DUI. Other countries, like Russia, have lower BAC limits than the US. While a .08% BAC can get you a DUI in the US, a .02% BAC can get you a DUI in Russia. In South Korea, a .05% BAC merits a DUI.
In addition to having lower BAC limits, many other countries have harsher penalties for driving over the limit. The most common difference is a lengthier license suspension. In some countries, your first DUI could leave you without a license for two years.
Most of the countries with harsher DUI laws have better drunk driving statistics. However, it is worth noting that harsh laws alone aren’t enough to change the frequency of drinking and driving.It requires other changes as well. Until the US can figure out what changes it needs to make, DUIs will continue to be a problem. There will continue to be DUI fatalities and DUI arrests. But in the future, there may be some changes that make DUIs less common.