Here is a sobering thought: In the state of Texas, there is one DUI-alcohol crash every 21 minutes and 18 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Why is this important to know now? Because Texas led the nation with 1,337 drunk driving deaths in 2013, as indicated on Page 5 of this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.
NHTSA reports 40% percent of all traffic deaths in the state of Texas were caused by a drunk driver. And, Texas ranked No. 1 in fatal on-the-job transportation incidents in 2013, with 213 deaths, according to Injury Facts 2015, an annual statistical report on injuries and deaths created by the National Safety Council.
In general, states with the largest number of people employed have the largest number of work-related fatalities. California was No. 2 in fatal transportation incidents by state, with 133, followed by Florida, with 84.
For employers, it’s important to know the cost of these incidents isn’t limited to loss of life. There are issues such as insurance, liability, employee absenteeism and productivity to consider. A DWI arrest and conviction in Texas can cost up to $17,000, according to TxDOT.
Who is Most at Risk?
Nationwide, men accounted for 80% of alcohol-impaired driving occurrences, and young men aged 21-34 reported 32% of all alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new report put out by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report says alcohol-impaired driving was three times higher among those who reported not always wearing a seat belt compared with those who reported to being always belted.
What Can be Done?
TxDOT is hosting outreach events and running a series of public service announcements. These printable posters are part of the Drink. Drive. Go to Jail messaging the department launched to create greater public awareness of the risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving. You might want to post them in your company breakroom or talk to your employees about these issues at a staff safety meeting.
The CDC says states and communities could consider increasing the use of effective interventions such as strictly enforcing the 0.08 g/dl BAC laws and minimum legal drinking age laws and increasing alcohol taxes. A new Texas law that went into effect on Sept. 1 requires ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of alcohol-impaired driving.