According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving fatalities across New York State jumped notably from 2017 to 2018.
This unnecessary and tragic reality logically makes people wonder what more can or should be done to crack down on and prevent drunk driving in New York.
Traffic statistics reveal a deadly reality
In 2017, New York State recorded 288 drunk driving deaths. These deaths represented 29% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year. In 2018, the number of people killed by drunk drivers in New York reached 307 and accounted for 33% of all accident deaths. Nationwide in 2018, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all accident deaths.
The picture in eastern New York
In the five years spanning 2014 through 2018, 66 people lost their lives at the hands of drunk drivers in Erie County, significantly more than in any neighboring county. Niagara and Chautauqua Counties recorded 19 and 18 deaths, respectively, in those same five years and Cattaraugus County another 12. Between Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans Counties, 18 people died in drunk driving crashes between 2014 and 2018.
New York’s laws on drunk driving may not be strong enough
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that a first conviction for driving while intoxicated may result in both jail time and the loss of driving privileges. Many drivers, however, may qualify to reinstate driving privileges by using ignition interlock devices.
Strong laws seem unable to fully prevent the unnecessary deaths that result from drunk driving accidents, highlighting the ongoing risk people in New York continue to face.