According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, 32% of fatal traffic crashes in America involved alcohol. When I see this (or similar) statistic in some internet article, some one will invariably comment, through bad humor or ignorance, that sober people caused 68% of traffic related deaths in this country. See! Drunks ain’t so bad!

Just for fun, because I’m an engineer, I looked up some other statistics.

In 2003, there were 196,165,666 licensed drivers in America. In 2009, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

(Warning: math voodoo involving Estimates and Rounding in use in the next couple of paragraphs.)

Let’s pretend that those are roughly the numbers we have today in 2012. That means that the sober drivers involved in fatal crashes come from the 196 million drivers minus the 1.4 million drivers under the influence. So then about 194.6 million drivers (or 5.6 Canadas in metric units) are responsible for 68% of traffic deaths in America.

Which leaves the other 0.7% of the drivers in America (the 1.4 million drivers under the influence) responsible for 32% of the fatal crashes.

“Ignorance never settles a question.”

“Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power.”
–Benjamin Disraeli

Crankiness Rating: 10 out 11 (Because Math is hard.)