How many people die in drunk driving crashes?

In 2016, drunk drivers in Arizona killed 72 more people than they did in 2015 as the number of fatalities increased from 200 to 272.

Hearing about the dangers of drunk driving should be nothing new to Arizona residents. Yet, despite widespread public awareness efforts, many people still make the choice to drive after they have been drinking. Just how serious is this problem today?

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people killed in accidents involving alcohol in 2016 jumped over the previous year.

Arizona's drunk driving realities

Data released by BackgroundChecks.org ranked all 50 states with number one being the worse for drunk driving. Arizona came in at number 17 on that list meaning that only 16 states have a bigger problem with drunk driving than does Arizona.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations statistics give some indication as to why Arizona may have a problem with drivers who operate vehicles when impaired. In 2014, 773 people died in traffic accidents statewide and of those, 200, died in drunk driving accidents. The following year, a total of 893 people died in vehicular crashes and of those, 272 were killed in crashes involving alcohol.

Maricopa County and drunk driving

Looking more closely at the NHTSA data shows the nature of the problem in and around Maricopa County. In Maricopa County, the 77 drunk driving fatalities of 2014 were surpassed by the 114 drunk driving fatalities in 2015. In five out of its six neighboring counties, the number of lives lost to drunk drivers in 2015 was greater than in the prior year. Only Yuma County experienced a decline in drunk driving deaths from 2014 to 2015.

Over the course of five years spanning 2011 to 2015, 467 deaths in Maricopa County were attributed to drunk drivers. In Pima and Pinal Counties, there were 152 and 88 such deaths in that same five years, respectively. Yavapai County was the location of 51 fatalities, Gila County another 31 fatalities, Yuma County another 29 and La Paz County 16.

Compensation and help are needed

Arizonans who are injured or who lose loved ones in drunk driving crashes deserve more help. 12News.com reports that the state senate is looking to make a legislative change that may help. Currently, substance testing is only conducted on drivers who cause fatal crashes. A new law would require such testing on drivers who cause crashes that result in severe injuries as well.

In addition to this, talking with a lawyer is recommended as this may be a vital means of how people can learn the options available to them for personal compensation.