Alcohol can impair the judgment of a driver, so all U.S. states impose stiff penalties. Even a first DUI offense in Oklahoma can have serious sequences for drivers. Statistics put how widespread the problem still is into perspective.
Drunk driving statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk driving caused 10,551 fatal accidents in 2018 and 10,142 accidents in 2019. Drunk driving causes about 121 million crashes annually.
The 21-to-24 age group is the highest risk group for drunk driving and causes the most fatal crashes at 27%. The legal age to drink was raised to 21 in 1984, which the NHTSA estimates has saved 31,959 lives.
States with the highest number of alcohol-related accidents are Texas, California and Florida, based on average yearly numbers. States with the lowest rate of alcohol-related fatalities include New Jersey, Minnesota, New York and Utah.
Drunk driving facts
The FBI reports that the average drunk driver has driven over 80 times while impaired before getting caught the first time. Some people believe that small amounts of alcohol won’t harm them, but the NHTSA reports even .05 ounces doubles a driver’s crash risk. Many factors include the rate of metabolizing alcohol, which includes age, gender, amount of food eaten and body weight. While the legal BAC level is 0.08 in most all states, a driver can still get a DUI below that level.
Some states allow convicted drunk drivers to reclaim their licenses, but some states, including Alabama and Idaho, don’t have this option. In Oklahoma, a driver may participate in an Impaired Driver Accountability Program instead of a license suspension, which requires an ignition interlock device.
Conviction on a first DUI offense in Oklahoma commonly means a $1,000 fine and up to 10 days in jail. However, drivers may be able to get a deferred sentence by following restrictions or work out a plea bargain.