People who live in Washington State have no doubt heard for years and even for decades about how dangerous it is to drive a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, it seems that despite the clear facts, there continue to be too many people who simply refuse to make the safe and responsible choice to put their keys away when they will be consuming alcoholic beverages. In fact, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of drunk driving deaths in the state has been on a steady rise for the past few years.
In 2013, 151 people were killed in crashes statewide in which alcohol was a stated factor. The following year saw a decline in these deaths to 132. However, the subsequent three years saw that trend reversed as 145 lives were lost at the hands of drunk drivers in 2015 followed by 160 in 2016 and then 178 in 2017. Each year during this five-year period, drunk drivers contributed to between 26 percent and 35 percent of all vehicular fatalities.
In King County, 31 people were killed by impaired drivers last year. That is four more than the 27 who died in these crashes in 2016. In the five years between 2013 and 2017, the county saw a total of 155 fatalities in crashes where alcohol was involved. In neighboring Pierce and Snohomish Counties, 99 and 61 drunk driving deaths were recorded in this same time period.
Nationally, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility indicates that 29 percent of all accident deaths in 2017 were attributed to alcohol with more than 10,800 people killed in these senseless and preventable incidents.