In theory, drunk driving ages are controlled, in that people under 21 years old cannot drink. In practice, of course, people who are underage do wind up breaking this law, so you do have drunk drivers — who are also breaking the law by driving under the influence — of all ages.
Even so, you can see that age plays into this equation in many ways. For instance, the majority of drunk drivers in 2017 ranged from 21 years old to 24 years old. That information comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This does indicate that drunk driving rates increase as people become legally allowed to drink. Some potential reasons for this include:
- These individuals are more likely to drink at bars and other places where transportation is required.
- People may start drinking more often once it is legal.
- Some underage individuals do follow the law and never drink before turning 21, so they have no chance of getting arrested on DUI charges before that.
Age trends seem to back this up. While the largest percentage (27%) came between 21 and 24, the second-largest group ranged from 25 years old to 34 years old. They made up a full 26% of all DUI cases. This means that more than half of all drunk drivers range from 21 to 34 years old.
A male-dominated statistic
One other important thing to note is that men get into drunk driving accidents more often than women. For every woman who gets arrested on DUI charges or involved in an accident, there are four men arrested for the same charges. Both genders participate, but the gulf between them — when looking at frequency — is fairly large.
What does this mean for you?
Perhaps you never drink and drive. It’s a personal stance you have always held, even though you are over the legal drinking age.
All the same, these statistics do have an impact on your life, as they show the extreme risk you face when sharing the road with other drunk drivers. Most of them, as these statistics show, will be young men between the ages of 21 and 34.
You want to keep this in mind when you get behind the wheel. Are you driving late at night, when bars close? Are you driving near where many young people — perhaps college students — tend to live? Do you need to practice extra caution as a result?
If you do get hit by a drunk driver, of any age or gender, make sure you are well aware of your legal rights in New York. You may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and any other costs that you have.